KD Cannon, WR, Baylor
(percentile rank among all WRs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.41 seconds (83rd)
Vertical: 37” (72nd)
Broad: 119” (42nd)
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Cannon turned in 1 of the most impressive true freshman campaigns in this year’s WR class. Just 18 years old at the start of that season (he turned 19 in November), Cannon ranked 2nd on the squad in receiving yards and TDs behind only 2016 first-rounder Corey Coleman. And he trailed Coleman by just 89 yards and 3 scores. Cannon finished 3rd in catches behind Coleman (64) and Antwan Goodley (60).
He led the entire country with 4 catches of 60+ yards. His 17.8 yards per catch ranked 8th among 129 players with 50+ grabs. Cannon’s 58 catches, 1,030 yards and 8 TDs were all Baylor freshman records. He was named a consensus Freshman All-American.
By those lofty standards, his 2015 was a disappointment. Cannon’s numbers dipped across the board. He worked his way through a QB change from Bryce Petty to Seth Russell. And he watched Coleman emerge as the clear lead dog, posting a massive 74-1,363-20 line. Cannon finished 2nd on the team in catches and yards; 3rd in TDs.
He bounced back with a career-best junior campaign, despite missing 1 game with a groin injury. With Coleman gone, Cannon led the team in catches, yards and TDs. Baylor ranked 22nd in passing yards and 12th in TDs last year. But Cannon’s market shares stack up nicely among this WR class. He accounted for 32.3% of the receptions, 33.3% of the receiving yards and 39.4% of the TDs. All 3 marks rank inside the top 6 of the 18 WRs we’ve looked at so far.
Courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com
Games watched - Oklahoma St. (2015), Rice, Oklahoma, Boise St.
Cannon’s game is based on speed. He clocked a 4.41-second 40 time at the Combine and plays even faster than that.
The rest of Cannon's repertoire revolves around that ability to beat you deep. He's effective on comebacks because defenders need to respect the long ball.
And if you start biting on the comeback, he’ll throw a double move at you.
Even when Cannon doesn't create separation, he has the athleticism and ball skills to come down with contested catches.
The concerns with Cannon are what we don't see. We don't see much variety to his routes. According to Pro Football Focus, 81% of his targets came on go routes, comebacks and screens.
We also didn’t get to see him work much against press coverage. That could be an issue at the next level, especially considering his size.
Cannon's speed will translate to the NFL. The question is whether he can add enough other tools to the arsenal to be effective.
He’s slightly built at 5’11 and 182 pounds. Even his arm length and hand size are in the bottom-5th of NFL WRs.
He’ll also need to learn to beat press coverage and expand his route tree. We’ve seen the lack of experience there hurt former Baylor WRs like Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams. In fact, the only WR to come out of Baylor’s current system that hasn’t been a relative disappointment is Josh Gordon. (We’ll see about Corey Coleman.)
That said, Cannon possesses the speed and overall athleticism to be, at minimum, a situational big-play threat at the next level. There’s upside for more if he refines his game. And, unlike fellow Baylor alums Wright and Coleman, you won’t need to use a 1st-round rookie pick to land him.