2017 NFL Draft: Motel Six Cactus Bowl

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 2
Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports /

#9 WR KD Cannon (5’11 | 180 | 4.38)

First team All-Big 12 selection who is one of the most dangerous deep threats in college football. Cannon has a catch of 50+ yards in five of eleven games this season. He’s a legit burner with rumored 40-times below 4.3 seconds.

Cannon’s yards per catch dropped from 17.4 to 13.5 this season, but Baylor has had plenty of quarterback issues that had a lot to do with the drop in production. He still put up 989 receiving yards and almost doubled his TD production from six to eleven.

It’s hard to tell how adept Cannon is at running the NFL route tree, since Baylor’s scheme doesn’t require much route variation. He has shown a talent for executing double-moves, which should play well as a deep threat at the next level.

The question is whether he can handle the intricacies of the receiver position in the NFL. Worst case, Cannon will provide a dangerous deep threat but the potential is there for a lot more. He’s shown natural hands with the ability to catch the ball away from his body. Besides his route running questions, he also isn’t much of a blocker and has the tendency to take plays off.

The Bears will be looking for receiver talent after a year that they had to start multiple practice squad type players. Cannon would give the Bears a deep threat that they just don’t have on the roster right now and should be on their day three radar.

He’s only a junior so may not declare this year, but with all the problems at Baylor this season I’d be shocked if he didn’t. Cannon is risky, but has massive upside for a projected day three pick.

Projection: 5th-6th round

#32 RB Shock Linwood (5’9 | 200 | 4.48)

*Decided to skip the bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft.

Projection: 7th round-UDFA

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports /

Boise St

#13 RB Jeremy McNichols (5’9 | 212 | 4.45)

The fifth leading rusher in CFB with 1,663 yards and overall touchdown leader with 27. McNichols has continued the Broncos tradition of a strong running game, following in the footsteps of Doug Martin and Jay Ajayi.

McNichols is a bit undersized, but runs with more power than expected from a back his size. His elite balance and hard-nosed running style make up for his small stature and his shifty moves on the second level give McNichols plenty of big-play potential.

While he lacks ideal size for an NFL workhorse, McNichols gains plenty of yards after contact. He has excellent hands as a receiver with 98 career catches for 1,065 yards and 11 receiving TDs.

McNichols running style reminds me a bit of Maurice Jones-Drew and he should excel in the zone-blocking scheme that the Bears use often. He would be a good fit as a 3rd down back but is tough enough to be an every-down back if needed.

He’s projected to be selected on day two, which probably puts him out of the Bears range with Jordan Howard established as the Bears primary back. HC John Fox does prefer a committee approach and McNichols has the perfect skill-set to complement Howard if the Bears are willing to use a day two pick for another running back.

Projection: 2nd-3rd round