KD Cannon is a 5-foot-11, 180 pound WR who attends Baylor University. Cannon was a 247 composite 5* coming out of high school, and is a perfect fit for the Baylor offense. The offense was built to utilize his speed and acceleration. With its wide splits, Cannon gets lots of room to maneuver. He is an absolute burner but needs refinement in other areas of the game such as route running and blocking.
First, we must address the precarious situation with Baylor’s athletics. Cannon is a junior and it is almost certain that he will be leaving early for the NFL. Baylor has a massive depth problem due to Briles being fired. Currently they only have 70 players on the roster with only two commits in the next cycle per 247. Essentially it would leave Cannon as the only playmaker left on the team. Furthermore, Baylor’s QB is a senior and will be moving on. Every Baylor site expects this of Cannon. Now let’s move on to his prolific start.
Baylor has put out quite a few WR’s in the League recently. That list includes: Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, Terrance Williams, and Kendall Wright. Cannon had the luxury of always having another great WR lining up opposite of him. It’s no surprise that in his first two years he averaged over 17 yards per catch. The numbers this year have dipped to 13 a catch, as defenses have focused solely on stopping him. He is the Bears’ best WR by far and it shows. It is important to discuss the Baylor offense before we discuss Cannon’s game. If it seems limiting, it is. However, it is by design.
The Baylor Veer-and-Shoot offense prides itself on inside runs and deep throws. For this offense, the receivers are lined up as far as possible. Quarterbacks operate it at a lightning pace and make quick decisions based on how the defense is lined up. If it sounds too simple, it really is. Per ESPN, Baylor doesn’t even use a playbook. Cannon mostly lines up outside and either goes deep, runs a post, or a dig route. There is the occasional screen mixed in. Baylor’s offense looks to make use of Cannon’s speed as much as possible. Another point is that since the offense is predicated by the defense, receivers know when they will not be targeted on a play. This leads to them taking some plays off. This might be necessary with the amount of plays Baylor likes to run, but it is a bad look for any wide receiver.
I watched Cannon face Southern Methodist University, as that was the best defense he has faced thus far. Cannon suffered an injury against Oklahoma State so that was not a viable game to watch. So far the game showed most of what we knew about Cannon. He isn’t the best blocker, takes plays off by design, and relies on his speed. However, he did make some great catches away from his body on dig routes. He is a natural catcher, and it would be interesting seeing what his range is. His route running is suspect currently, since he is not asked to do much. He needs to develop moves so that he doesn’t rely purely on out running receivers. Cannon has great burst, so he could turn that into great short to intermediate route running. Despite his limited role, he has made full use of it.
Some concerns for Cannon include his route running, ability to win contested balls, and run blocking. He is not a big receiver, so the last two will have to be overcome with supreme route running. We have not seen Cannon run the full route tree, and we likely will not. Cannon has also experienced a knee injury and a groin injury. Though neither seem to be long term issues right now. An NFL team with a downfield passing attack would be wise to look at Cannon. He has the ability to take the top off, and create space in the open field. He likely will not be taken in the earlier rounds as some of his peers, but he should do well in the NFL.