Shalise Manza-Young went to Texas last week to get to the bottom of what's going on with fifth-round pick Marcus Cannon, the guard/tackle out of TCU who is undergoing cancer treatments at the moment.
Manza-Young's story is well worth your time here.
Very interesting to read that if it wasn't for the pre-draft process, when teams poked and prodded him and eventually requested that he get a surgical biopsy (he had the needle variety up to that point), Cannon might not have caught his cancer this early. It could have saved his life.
Cannon, who could play either guard or tackle, is an important figure in this draft for the Patriots because of the uncertainty with the team's line. With Matt Light an unrestricted free agent, Stephen Neal retired, Logan Mankins' future being cloudy and unknown quality of the Patriots' current backups, Cannon could ultimately see a lot of playing time this year -- if he comes through this healthy.
Another interesting tidbit came form TCU coach Gary Patterson. One of the knocks on Cannon coming out was that he may be too nice a guy to excel in NFL trenches, where it often gets very nasty. This is a valid concern. It has sunk other players. Patterson didn't deny it -- he actually seemed to confirm it while adding he thinks Cannon can adapt a nasty edge at the next level.
“I don’t know if it’s ‘too nice,’ ’’ Patterson said from his office overlooking Amon Carter Stadium. “You just have a guy that’s very powerful, does all the things he needs to do. Some people are mean, but they don’t have the ability to be an NFL guy. In his case, he has all the ability to be all that, and a very good one. I think that’s a lot easier to change [adding a bit of nastiness to talent] than the other.’’
Cannon believes that he plays his technique as he was taught, and his teaching did not include just throwing opponents to the turf.