Last week, one of the All-Time Patriots, running back Kevin Faulk, made a comeback to the practice field after spending the early portion of the season on the physically unable to perform list. Alongside Faulk was a pair of promising defensive linemen, DL Ron Brace and DL Brandon Deaderick who could provide immediately depth on the line.
Well, the fourth member of the early inactive list was rookie 5th round draft pick Marcus Cannon. Cannon was a 1st/2nd round offensive tackle/guard prospect who slipped due to a non-Hodgkins lymphoma diagnosis. The Patriots thought the 6-5, 358 lbs lineman was worth a long term investment and used a late pick to bring in the talented player.
Today, Cannon made a comeback to the practice field. Expectations are low for Cannon to grab an active roster spot this season, but the Patriots have three weeks to determine Cannon's future. He could be placed on the season ending injured reserve, or they could activate him and use him as depth.
I believe that Cannon will practice for three weeks in order to get his feet wet in the system, but ultimately will be placed on the injured reserve. Cannon is recovering from treatments which prevent him from operating at his highest potential. As a result, I expect the coaching staff to bring Cannon along slowly and build back his strength. An injury while Cannon isn't at full strength would be awful and could derail a promising career, so giving Cannon a red-shirt season could be extremely valuable for all parties involved.
Welcome back Cannon! Here's to you making a big impact as a Patriot!
In other news, the Patriots have released DB Josh Victorian from the practice squad and have added DB/ST player Malcolm Williams. Williams is an incredible athlete and was drafted based upon his physical potential. Look for him to be crafted into a special teams depth player, but also as a potential future safety. Special teams players are typically strong tacklers (see: Kyle Arrington, James Ihedigbo), and can provide help in the run game. As the Patriots evolve their safety position into a more physical spot, look for stronger players to emerge as safety candidates.