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At the beginning of last season all Patriots fans thought that the offensive line would lead to the failure of a lifetime for the Patriots. Luckily for them, Bryan Stork got healthy and he was able to bring stability for the rest of the season. When the offensive line played well Brady played well. He could sit in the pocket and deliver accurate balls to open receivers and keep the chains moving.

While they were able to figure out the offensive line last season there is still a large need at guard for the Patriots. Guard is one of the biggest needs alongside cornerback for the Patriots. With an aging Tom Brady it becomes more and more important to them that they keep him upright and allow him to pick apart defenses.

The guard position in the draft is an interesting position. There is a top guard in Brandon Scherff, but other then him there is significant drop off to tier two guards. Cann fits into this level as a tier two guard, and can be an interesting prospect for the Patriots to consider.

Measurables:
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 313 lbs
Arm Length: 32 5/8"
Hand Size: 10 1/4"

Combine Results:
26 reps of 225 on bench

Pro Day Results:
5.46 40 Yard Dash
30 Reps of 225 on bench
32 1/2" Vertical Leap
109" Broad Jump

Professional Comparison:
If you are looking of someone currently in the NFL to compare AJ Cann to it has to be Gabe Jackson from the Raiders. Jackson is a thick powerful blocker, much like Cann, a dominating presence in the running game. Just like a team wants in a guard. Both were durable four year staters and have the make up to be long term steady starters in the NFL. Both have good reactions, awareness and football IQ that make them effective interior lineman.

Strengths
Cann is a thick stout offensive lineman that rarely gets pushed back and will always stand his ground. He is not afraid of big competition and will hold his own no matter who is across the line of scrimmage from him. Possesses naturally powerful hands and outstanding upper body strength. An athletic lineman who can make an impact in the screen game, and can make blocks on the move. He is a disciplined blocker that doesn't get confused by twists and stunts, and is rarely penalized.

At 3:42 you see Mizzou attempt a stunt, but Cann stays at home where he is supposed to be awaiting the twisting defensive tackle.

AT 8:56 you see South Carolina trying to slow down the Mizzou pass rush by running a slip screen to the running back. You see Cann slip out and give the running back the lead blck that he needs to turn the simple screen into a big play.



Weaknesses
Can be slow out of his stance, which leaves him vulnerable to speed rushers up the middle. He is a great run blocker, but can use some work in his pass protection as he can often times get caught off balance and be pushed back into the pocket. His ability to get to the second level is something that must be improved, he has good initial down block, and pull blocking skills but in order to make it in the NFL he must be able to reach to the second level.



At 7:30 you can see Cann get caught off balance and completely get thrown back into the ground by the speed of Shane Ray.

Projections Cann will likely be on the board when the Patriots select at 64. He and Laken Tomlinson are the two guards that will likely be selected in round 2. Unlike offensive tackles, guards don't have much draft value too a team and these two effective players will need to wait until day 2.

Will the Patriots draft him?
If they do not address offensive line in round 1 they could realistically draft either Cann or Tomlinson in round 2. The need at guard is extremely high and both Tomlinson or Cann would be a great addition to add alongside Stork. They could wait until round 3 to grab Ali Marpet, or Tre Jackson, but Cann may be the best value they can get at the guard position.


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Andrew Ludwig 4/25/2015 12:30:00 AM Edit
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