Former TCU offensive tackle Marcus Cannon was picked by the New England Patriots with the seventh pick of the fifth round.
Just fifteen picks later in the fifth round, Cannon’s former teammate Jeremy Kerley came off the board as well. He was selected by the New York Jets.
Former TCU safety Colin Jones was drafted with pick 190 in the sixth round by the San Francisco 49ers. 49ers head coach was at TCU’s Pro Day and undoubtedly saw Jones run the fastest 40 yard dash of anyone. He is the 4th Horned Frog selected in this draft
All three TCU stars seem to have lucked out. At first glance, they were drafted by strong organizations who utilize their talent well, and produce solid players regardless of their profile out of college.
For Marcus Cannon, the New England Patriots have a knack for developing the players that they select in the later rounds of the draft. The Patriots have Logan Mankins and Stephen Neal as their starting offensive guards. Cannon figures to move inside in the NFL, so he will likely not start right away for the Pats. There is a chance that the Patriots may not have the money to resign Logan Mankins despite their claims that they would like to have to left guard back for 2011.
Nonetheless, Cannon may be a steal for the Patriots. He had a chance to be a second round pick, but his diagnosis with non-Hodgkins lymphoma likely saw him fall a bit in the draft. He is expected to make a full recovery, and he is dynamic in that he can play tackle as well as guard.
Cannon is 6’6 and 350 pounds and was named to three All-America teams in 2010, and three times, he was selected All-Mountain West. Cannon led a TCU offensive line that allowed only nine sacks in all of 2010 which averaged out to just .7 per game. He is a proven winner as TCU went 25-1 in his final two seasons as a Horned Frog, and he will likely improve under Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. The Patriots have drafted ten players in rounds 4-7 in the last five seasons that have gone on to be full time starters at some point for the perennial Super Bowl contenders. They uncovered the hidden treasure of Tom Brady in the 6th round of the 2000 draft, and they may have uncovered another treasure in Big Cannon.
Jeremy Kerley will be going to a team that is one of the Patriots biggest rivals. Under head coach Rex Ryan, the Jets have gone to back to back AFC Championship games. Kerley joins former Horned Frogs Drew Coleman and LaDainian Tomlinson on the Jets.
Kerley was the 27th player drafted from TCU in the 10 years of the Patterson era. Kerley was an All-American as a return specialist, and he was honored by being a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player.
A native of Hutto, Texas, Kerley was one of only two players to rank in the top 20 in punt return average and kick return average last season. The Jets have four very solid receivers already on the roster in Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith, and Santonio Holmes. However, the Jets have a knack for utilizing the talent of each of their players. Kerley offers speed, agility, and versatility. Kerley would be able to play the slot position in the Jets offense or help out in the return game.
Jeremy Kerley can also play in the wildcat package. Brad Smith is currently the Jets wildcat quarterback and return man, but Kerley possesses too much talent for Rex Ryan to keep him off the field.
Kerley is fortunate to be drafted by a team on the rise, and due to the depth the Jets have at wide receiver, Kerley will have time to learn the playbook and his role in a Jets offense led by former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.