NFP Prospect Focus: Jake Fisher and A.J. Cann

As we all know, offensive tackles are always looked at as premium prospects. They are the primary pass protectors on the offensive line. It wasn't until the last few years that guards were also looked at as premium draft selections. Why? Defensive coordinators, in order to create mismatches, started using better pass rushers inside in the sub packages. When guards were scouted, run blocking was always the most important specific that was graded. That is no longer the case and because there are better pass rushers inside, the guards have to become better pass protectors. Not only are the top guards drafted higher than they used to be, but once they reach the NFL they are getting paid at a higher rate. Today we will take a look at two offensive lineman who should go fairly high in next month’s draft. Jake Fisher from Oregon is a left tackle and South Carolina’s A.J. Cann is one of the better guards available. Jake Fisher – Oregon During the college season, Fisher wasn’t getting much publicity as a top offensive line prospect. Since the season ended, his value has shot up. I think one of the reasons is that once the coaches got involved in the process, they saw more to Fisher's game than some scouts did. At 6’6 – 308 he has idea height with good length (33 ¾” arms). His frame is a bit on the narrow side, and I don’t see him getting bigger than about 315. He has good upper body strength (25 reps of 225), but he doesn’t have the really thick lower body that some coaches want. As an athlete, he tests out as well as any tackle in this draft. He ran 5.01, had a 32.5” vertical jump and his agilities were 7.25 and 4.33 respectively. He has quick feet and is a natural bender. When you watch tape, it jumps out that he is very well coached. He has very good snap reaction, keeps his back straight in pass protection, and does an excellent job using his hands. Right now, he is a better pass blocker than a run blocker because of his punch and the way he can mirror opponents. He is light on his feet and reacts quickly to keep good position versus counter moves. He needs to improve his run blocking. While he has some snap in his hips on contact, his smaller lower body just isn’t as powerful as some of the bigger guys. He gets stalemated at times and isn’t consistent with getting movement. He is good at getting to the second level because of his athleticism and his ability to adjust on the move. I see his best fit as a left tackle in a zone scheme. He needs to get bigger and stronger, and he will once he gets involved in an NFL weight program. The player he reminds me of from an athletic and size point of view is Lane Johnson who was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft to the Eagles. While he isn’t as talented as Johnson was he has the same type of game. It wouldn’t surprise me if Fisher went in the lower part of the first round, but I feel it is more likely that he goes in the early second. SCOUTING BOOT CAMP IS COMING TO CHICAGO THIS MAY! REGISTER FOR THE LIVE SEMINAR OR WEBINAR! A.J. Cann – South Carolina Cann has very good guard size. He measures 6’4- 313 at the combine and has the frame to carry 320. While he didn’t work out at Indy, he did lift and did 26 reps which is equivalent to a 407 pound bench press. The South Carolina pro day isn’t until next week, so we will find out more about Cann’s athleticism then. As a player, Cann is impressive on tape. He is a four year starter at the guard position. In the run game, he gets off the ball quickly and stays low. He shows power on contact and is consistently able to generate movement with run blocks. He uses his hands well while run blocking and takes good angles to the second level. He plays with the athleticism to get out in space and adjust on the move to make a productive block. In pass protection, he is effective but needs to use his hands better. He can bend and move his feet, but can get lazy with his technique and overextend at times. He also fails to consistently keep his hands inside. When he pays attention to detail, he shows he can mirror and anchor and does a good job reacting and adjusting to blitzes. Overall, he has all the natural tools to excel at the guard position in the NFL. He just needs to be more consistent with his technique. While a player can get by on natural talent at the college level, that won’t happen in the NFL. If he doesn’t pay close attention to detail, an experienced defensive lineman will eat him up. This player has talent, and I can see him going in the second or third round. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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