Who's the Best? Ranking Cyclone No. 19

Hidden in a 3-9 season was plenty of quality-to-elite talent. It's one man's list, but we've set off to rank Iowa State's best players, counting down from No. 50 all the way to No. 1. In this installment we rank player No. 19

The debate's getting serious.

AllCyclones.com began listing ISU's best 50 players for 2014 earlier, Nos. 50-26 — using production, potential, positional value and a little bit of by-the-gut reasoning.

Now we get to the nitty-gritty, beginning our one-by-one countdown of No. 25 to No. 1, a task that'll run through Spring Football.

The envelope, please ...

No. 19: Jacob Gannon, Offensive Tackle, SR

Gannon was not immune to the adversity that struck Iowa State's offensive line in 2013, missing three games with injury and starting just eight, but he began the season as a starting tackle and finished it the same way. Compared to the rest of his beef mates, Gannon's presence was largely a steady one in this regard.

Now a big offseason awaits the fifth-year senior. Gannon started two games apiece as a freshman and sophomore in 2011 and 2012, respectively, before jumping up to full-time starter status a year ago. That's plenty of blood spent for the program, but it's not that much, and it won't make him untouchable in the looming competition, especially under a new line coach (ISU's third in three years).

  • Gannon's Best Case Scenario: Holds off Jake Campos and others and is ISU's starting right tackle the entire season, barring injury.

  • Gannon's Worst Case Scenario: Well, the opposite of the best: Doesn't win a job.

  • Reason for the Ranking: Offensive linemen aren't as valuable as they were 10 years ago, when they were considered by many the most important players on a roster. The slow death, in college football at least, of the three-, five- and seven-step drops out from under center have contributed to that; thanks to the shotgun, the quarterback can read a defense while keeping a check on his peripherals. Offenses are designed to get rid of the ball quicker, negating much of the pass rush offensive tackles were born to slow.

    So, maybe in 2005, Gannon is a top-10 player — or at least most important — but the Cyclones these days can live with one of their tackles being average, so long as he can hold his own and win a few more battles than he loses. Gannon was inconsistent in 2013 but he has a great frame (6-foot-7, 300 pounds) and is very intelligent — perhaps he can take a step forward.

    You'll see Brock Dagel land very high on this list and that's because his talent and ceiling stack up to the positional value of a left tackle. Reservations about Gannon's sheer level of talent, and the fact that it's OK to have a mediocre guy at right tackle if the rest of the offensive line is above-average, land him at No. 19.


    It is with caution that I dip my toe into what will likely be choppy waters. Ranking Iowa State's 50 best players is an arduous task. With a number that allows for the two-deep (22 on each side) plus a few, any omission might be construed as an insult. That's not at all what I set out to do here. I wanted to locate and then rank the most valuable Cyclones for the 2014 football season. Read that again. For the 2014 football season. Not from last season. Or for 2017. How'd I do this? I looked at production, sure, and of course I looked at short-term potential — can this player contribute in 2014, and at what level?

    Phone calls were made, brains were picked, contributions considered. I tried to think like an NFL executive: Quarterback, offensive tackle, defensive end, cornerback are by many accounts the most important positions in football, but I didn't always obey that rule, not unless the talent stacked up. I went back to my notes for the first and second watches of all the 2013 games, but those were last season's schemes, at least on offense, and I project the change to Mark Mangino's scheme will shake things up.

  • 50: Brian Peavy

  • 49: Jevohn Miller

  • 48: Pierre Aka

  • 47: Joel Lanning

  • 46: Kamari Syrie

  • 45: Colin Downing

  • 44: Kamari Cotton-Moya

  • 43: Michael Warren

  • 42: Kenneth Lynn

  • 41: Justin Madison

  • 40: Duaron Williams

  • 39: Tad Ecby

  • 38: Tyler Brown

  • 37: Mitchell Meyers

  • 36: Gabe Luna

  • 35: Cole Netten

  • 34: Rob Standard

  • 33: Dondre Daley

  • 32: Wendell Taiese

  • 31: Jared Brackens

  • 30: T.J. Mutcherson

  • 29: Oni Omoile

  • 28: Trent Taylor

  • 27: Sam E. Richardson

  • 26: Devlyn Cousin

  • 25: Terry Ayeni

  • 24: Qujuan Floyd

  • 23: Jake Campos

  • 22: Allen Lazard

  • 21: Luke Knott

  • 20: Jamison Lalk

  • 19: Jacob Gannon

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