The 6-foot-3, 313-pound guard out of South Carolina is expected to be a second-round pick, but it wasn’t his skill that he mentioned when asked about what makes him stand out among the draft class of guards. He immediately referenced his character.
“I think I’m one of those guy you would never have a problem with,” he said at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Still, there is plenty to like about his game, too, and the Vikings are expected to be in the market for a starting left guard.
Coming out of Bamberg-Ehrhardt (S.C.) High School, where Cann played on both sides of the ball, he was rated a four-star prospect and the third-best center in the country, according to Scout.com.
After choosing South Carolina from dozens of scholarship offers, he started 51 games, second in school history. There, he and the Gamecocks compiled a 40-12 record.
As a senior, Cann continued his blocking pedigree, as the left guard recorded a career-best 91.85 percent grade for blocking consistency, allowing no sacks and just three quarterback pressures. The offense was erratic all year, managing just a 7-6 season, but Cann posted a career-high 115 knockdowns, with 15 of their 23 touchdown runs coming from blocks the left guard delivered.
“I think I play at a very low (pad) level, and I think I’m athletic and strong. For a guard, I think I’m really athletic. I’m quick, and I think I can basically block anybody if I put my mind to it. I’ll do whatever I’ve got to do,” he said.
“I’m smart, physical and tough, and I’m very competitive.
Here is the scouting report on Cann from Scout.com draft analyst Dave-Te’ Thomas, the NFL’s lead scout:
Cann might go down as the most complete offensive lineman ever produced during Steve Spurrier’s college coaching days. The four-year starter at left guard had his finest season to date in 2014, as the two-time team captain and Academic All-Southeastern Conference choice added All-American honors after he delivered 15 touchdown-resulting blocks and 115 knockdowns as a senior.
Even with all of his experience as a guard, his incredible field smarts, enough to have called blocking assignments for the team since his sophomore year, could see him shift inside to center at the next level. He has excellent athletic ability, displaying good initial explosion off the line. He is very nimble in the open field, as he gets out on traps and pulls in a hurry, maintaining balance throughout his stride. With his ability to engage defenders in an instant coming off the snap, he might be a better center candidate at the next level, once he gains experience.
Cann shows impressive agility and balance on the move and has the change-of-direction flexibility to redirect and clear cutback lanes working into the second level. Cann, just the second player in school history to start at least 50 games for the Gamecocks, is likely to be the first guard selected in the draft. The Patriots are looking for a quality interior blocker and Green Bay and Arizona are also looking for line upgrades early in the draft.
He’s a classic bar-room brawler who is light in the hips and can run well when pulling and trapping. Put him in a scheme where he can utilize his raw power and allow him to maul and he will excel. He is just not the type that fits in a finesse-style scheme.
Cann has no trouble getting turned up field and locking on to linebackers in the second level. He is very alert when trapping and can drop his pads and snap hips to unload on a lethargic defender. While his pass protection is solid enough to handle emergency snaps as a tackle, he is much better suited as an interior lineman due to a lack of great arm length and just adequate overall size to play on the edge.
Cann has natural strength and quickness. He shows ease of movement accelerating into the second level and excellent change of direction agility to make plays working down the line. He plays with a very good base, keeping his feet wide and pad level low to generate enough explosiveness coming off the snap. He plays on his feet and has the lateral range to make adjustments in his pass set.
Cann bends his knees with good flexibility and shows that he has the quickness to get out on the edge and seal off the rush, along with getting into the second level to stalk linebackers (made twelve downfield blocks). He has the agility to pull and trap with very good effectiveness from the offensive guard position. He shows good hand usage and the redirection skills to mirror on stunts and blitzes.
Cann is a highly intelligent blocker who is quick to pick up defensive schemes, especially stunts and blitzes. He can handle the mental aspect of the game and is not the type who will make the same mistake twice. He has a good classroom work ethic, earning league and school academic honors during his career and takes the plays from the board to the field with only minimal reps.
Cann is best when picking up games and chipping to the second level. He knows all of the assignments of the offensive lineman and has enough savvy to make blocking calls, if needed, along with the exceptional hand quickness that could make him a viable option to play center at the next level.
As a drive blocker, Cann excels working in space, as he shows great explosion getting out in attempts to stalk and neutralize linebackers. He has above-average leg drive and lateral movement to be quite effective maintaining rush-lane integrity. As a senior, he dominated the action in the trenches when trying to scope, sustain and make reach blocks than in the past. He gets very good hip roll, which lets him be physical and aggressive coming off the snap.
Once Cann locks on to a defender, he will generally win the battle. He can drive with good initial force, but is best when accelerating to get to the second level. In pass protection, few guards possess the speed to mirror and square up with an opponent like him. He has a very strong anchor, which lets him maintain position when trying to neutralize the pass rush charge.
With his lateral quickness, Cann has no problems when trying to slide and readjust. He plays with good awareness and has the flexibility along with functional lower body strength to anchor. Few offensive guards at the collegiate level demonstrate the hand quickness he has. He comes out of his stance with good urgency and a solid base, opening his hips quickly to pivot and adjust to the speed rush.
SCOUT.COM DRAFT RANKINGS
Position: QB RB FB WR TE OT OG C DT DE OLB MLB S CB K P LS