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Saturday, April 30, 2011
Rapid reaction: Marcus Cannon

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In selecting TCU offensive lineman Marcus Cannon with their initial fifth-round pick (138th overall), the Patriots get a player with early-round skills but who fell in the draft because of medical concerns.

Cannon (6-5, 358) was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Cannon was scheduled to begin chemotherapy Thursday and will have three more treatments over the next three months and be finished by June 29. He has a success rate for beating the cancer of more than 90 percent.

From a Patriots perspective, the fifth round seems like the right time to take this type of risk, as Cannon has starter-caliber skills. He is one of the more powerful linemen in the draft, and if healthy, probably projects best to the right guard spot in New England. Right tackle is also an option.

After the Patriots drafted Nate Solder 17th overall, and now with Cannon, Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia must be smiling today.

One final option on the table is that the team could consider starting him on the physically unable to perform list, saving a roster spot with 2012 in mind, somewhat similar to how the team approached receiver Brandon Tate after selecting him in the third round of the 2009 draft.