Patriots Personnel Director Nick Caserio has let it be known that Patriots 5th round pick offensive lineman Marcus Cannon will be moved to the active roster. Cannon has undergone treatment for cancer since the draft and has been deemed healthy enough to be activated.
Originally considered a first round talent, the 6-5, 360 lbs offensive lineman plummeted on draft day as news of his non-Hodgkins lymphoma surfaced. The Patriots, hungry for youth on the offensive line, took advantage of his fall and took him in the fifth round. Now that Cannon is looking at time on the active roster, Caserio says that he will be treated like a regular player:
"We’ll blend him into the mix. We’ll put him on the roster," Caserio went on. "He’ll be no different than any other player. We’ll ask him to do the same things everybody else does. Work on his techniques, work on his fundamentals, improve and prepare to play. When is he going to play? When is that opportunity going to come? Nobody really knows at this point. The expectation is that he comes in, works hard, prepares to play. But this speaks volumes to him as a person, the doctors and the time they’ve invested. It’s a credit to Marcus. I think there’s a lot of people happy for him and look forward to continue to work with him in the future."
Hopefully Cannon can get back into game-day form and start contributing to the squad.
The return of Cannon comes at a great time for the offensive line as the injuries have racked up. Center Dan Koppen is on the injured reserve, while back-up center Dan Connolly has struggled at times. Interior lineman Ryan Wendell suffered a recent concussion, as has rookie tackle Nate Solder. Tackle Sebastian Vollmer has been suffering from back issues and guard Brian Waters missed a few snaps against the Jets due to a twisted knee.
In reality, the only fully healthy linemen are tackle Matt Light, guards Logan Mankins and Donald Thomas, and center Dan Connolly. Mankins and Connolly have been struggling for the majority of the season, while Thomas is a back-up. If we consider Waters as nicked up, Light has been the only consistent performer on the offensive line and he's liable for a few pressures and quarterback hits allowed each game.
Cannon will provide depth at both the guard and tackle position and provides a large body to help slow down larger defensive tackles from penetrating into the pocket.
The only question is which player will be cut in order to make room for Cannon. I know where I'm placing my money.
Edit: Hah. Ross Ventrone was released to make this move. Also, 7th round pick and defensive back Malcolm Williams was added back to the practice squad.