This class of receivers is much maligned, but I am starting to think that there are several potential diamonds who are going to be drafted. Ka’Darius O’Keith Cannon is the first of these. Up front, I’ll tell you KD is a project; he enters the NFL saddled with the stigma of the dreaded minimalist Baylor route tree.
Even if there are concerns about the variety of routes that Cannon has been asked to run, there should be no doubt about his field stretching ability. His straight speed off the line is tremendous; so good that defenders are routinely obliged to give him an initial cushion AND he still beats them deep. He also does a fairly good job reading the amount of space the defense is giving him to work with and stays within it. As if simple respect wasn’t enough for Cannon to create separation, he also will utilize double moves (and his ability on a simple slant is obvious.) He has the ability to high point the football and make adjustments to the ball. He tracks the ball well and more often than not will win the fight with a corner.
The biggest knock I have on Cannon is the number of drops I saw. He’s prone to both issues of concentration and of letting the ball travel too far in to his body. He will occasionally bounce away from contact after a catch and cost yards. I also noticed several instances of Cannon picking the wrong spot to sit down in versus zone coverage.
At worst, Cannon has the potential to be a field stretcher for a team looking to add that deep option. (He uses a hesitation move to freeze defenders just before blowing them away with his long speed.) But I think there’s even more potential upside with his ability to make plays in traffic, absorb hits/break tackles and his balance.