New England Patriots: Revisiting and Grading the Draft: 2011

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Dec 14, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots guard Marcus Cannon (61) during the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. New England defeated Miami 41-13. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

5th Round #138 overall: offensive tackle Marcus Cannon

Having no fourth round draft picks due to their original third and fourth round picks in 2011 going to Oakland for a 2012 second round draft pick and their fourth round draft pick which came from Denver for Laurence Maroney going to Seattle for Deion Branch. The Patriots had the #138 overall pick after trading down 13 spots with Houston from #60 overall in the second round to #73 overall in the third round. Houston took defensive back Brandon Harris who had little to no impact in Houston. The Patriots ended up with Stevan Ridley and offensive tackle Marcus Cannon.


Cannon was a player with a second round grade going into the draft before the massive six-foot-six and nearly 350 pound lineman from TCU was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Cannon was on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list as a rookie, but he surprisingly was activated in the second half of the season and contributed at right tackle at the end of the season. The next year Cannon was the top back-up at left and right tackle and excelled in his one start of the season in week 12 against the Jets.


Cannon showed his value in 2013 as he stepped in for starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer who broke his leg against Miami in week eight. Cannon stepped in and there was no drop-off in play as he held down the position and helped keep quarterback Tom Brady upright. Last season Cannon struggled when he surprisingly moved inside to guard to start the season despite not playing there much in training camp. When filling in at tackle he showed his usual value and was rewarded with a contract extension at the end of the season.


Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (left) shakes hands with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) after Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


There is just one name that jumps out as “should have drafted” in this spot and New England is not the only team that missed out on this player. Although the Patriots received solid value in drafting Cannon in the fifth round, at #154 overall the Seattle Seahawks grabbed a cornerback from Stanford named Richard Sherman. The three time All Pro cornerback was a steal in that spot and one of the most impactful late round draft picks since New England found Tom Brady.


Beyond Sherman there were a few gems in that area of the draft: Jacquizz Rodgers (#145 to Atlanta) is a serviceable third down/receiving running back; Denarius Moore (#148 overall to Oakland) topped 600 yards receiving three times; and wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (#153 overall to the Jets) has over 2,000 yards receiving.



Cannon was a luxury pick in the fifth round as New England was able to scoop up a player who had the potential to be a starter who fell in the draft due to unfortunate circumstances. Cannon has been solid when called upon and an important contributor in New England. For a fifth round draft pick, he was better than expected.


Next: 5th-7th Rounds