2015 NFL Draft Scouting Report – A.J. Cann, G South Carolina


After redshirting as a true freshman, South Carolina left guard A.J. Cann stepped into the starting lineup and never looked back.  Cann has been nothing short of an institution at left guard and will leave the program with 51 starts.  In addition to being an All-SEC performer, he has been a leader as a team captain, in the weight room and in academics.

The South Carolina Gamecocks offensive line was one of the biggest and most talented lines in the country this year.  In the Gamecocks offense, Cann and left tackle Corey Robinson are often in substantially wider splits than the rest of the offensive line, giving them more real estate on the field they are responsible to cover.  This has presented challenges both in pass protection as well as covering the run.  It could actually make it easier for Cann to adjust at the next level because he is responsible for less area to cover and he excelled in opportunities when they used small splits.

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Vitals & Build

  • Born October 3, 1991 (Will be 23 at the time of the draft)
  • 6’4″ 311lbs (Listed)

Cann is a big body with a hugely strong upper body.  He has wide shoulders and explosive strong from the waist up, looking like he is pro ready there.  His legs are not as developed as his upper body, but they are plenty strong in their own right and may have the most potential to continue to get stronger at the next level.  Cann does carry some excess baggage and has a paunch.  Most of Cann’s potential is going to be into maximizing what he already has built because he is largely ready right out of the box.


Cann is relatively limited when it comes to his ability to operate on the move and to slide well.  He is lighter on his feet than some might expect.  The Gamecocks would use him on pulls, but they were relatively conservative with how often.  Cann is just not particularly fast and he can have trouble adjusting to blocks in space at times.  He tends to be deliberate with how he approaches pulls or moves to the second level.

  • Cann is able to get to the second level and land a block on the screen.

When pressed to cover ground between the center and tackle, Cann can have a difficult time and get beat as a result.  His lack of range and overall lack of mobility may limit him to being a right guard at the next level.

Run Blocking

Cann is extremely powerful as a run blocker.  He can create space, driving opponents off of the ball and has the killer instinct and ability to finish them when given the opportunity.  When he engages, Cann does an excellent job of keeping his legs moving and can put opponents on skates.

  • Cann drives the opponent off the ball and puts him on his back.
  • Cann goes to the second level, picking up the linebacker, doing an excellent job of staying with the block while still driving him down the field.

At times, Cann will play too tall on the move and have too narrow of a base and end up being knocked off balance, falling off of the block and ending up on the ground.

  • Cann pulls right and makes a good block, sealing the defender to the outside opening up a big run.

Pass Blocking

As a pass blocker, Cann is most effective operating in a phone booth.  He gets low, keeps a wide base and is able to anchor effectively.  Cann is able to stop opponents from gaining momentum and shut them down.

He shows good awareness, keeping his head on a swivel, doing a good job of recognizing stunts and looking to help assist with blocks when he is able.

  • Cann does a nice job of diagnosing and handling this stunt.

Even in pass protection, Cann can still flash power at the point of attack and shock opponents with how hard he can punch.

  • The defender tries to go inside and Cann lands a great punch, putting him on the ground.

Where Cann has problems is when it comes to opponents who can get him off balance or win with quickness.  There are situations where he ends up getting pushed too far one way and gives the opponent an opening or has trouble getting in position quickly enough, lacking the agility and speed to make up the difference.

  • Cann oversets inside, allowing the defender to use an outside spin move and get the sack.
  • Cann looks at the outside threat, making him late to get in position to handle the inside rush and gets bulled over for it.

Cann has the ability to slide and mirror effectively and as long as he can be consistent, he will be difficult to beat inside.  When he misreads what opponents are doing or takes a false step and gets off balance, he becomes vulnerable quickly and gets victimized as a result.


Cann has pretty good hand use and is strong enough where he can take advantage of his arm length and be effective.  He has heavy hands and can deliver a strong punch, but especially with pass protection, tends to be more comfortable catching opponents to get control and take them out of the play.  Cann is disciplined as far as keeping his hands inside and is not likely to get called for many holding penalties; at times, almost to his detriment.  He has his hands so far inside at times, some opponents can work off of blocks.  These are not frequent but do happen at times.

In the running game, he does a nice job of positioning his hands and being able to take advantage of his strength.  From the waist up, he can be a downright devastating road grader, can get behind his pads and maximize his power.


In pass protection, Cann can demonstrate some quick feet working laterally as he adjusts to opponents.  Occasionally, he will get caught and step too far which has him overset and give up pressures to quickness, but he can do a good job adjusting to opponents and maximizing his position.  When he is right, he mirrors really well and can be difficult to beat.

As a run blocker, on the move, Cann is often lumbering.  He takes big strides and is not terribly fast which can have him get himself out of position or make it difficult for him to get a good block in space.  On pulls, his big strides can help him cover more ground, but he needs to get more consistent at anticipating opponents and shortening his steps so he can be more effective on the move.

System Fit

It is difficult to imagine Cann having success unless he is primarily playing in a gap scheme.  Beyond that, it also seems like he is best suited to play on the right side of the line.  This would allow him to do what he does best by playing in a phone booth and being an earth moving type run blocker.  It should also limit the amount of time he has to win with his athleticism.

Draft Projection

A.J. Cann warrants a  Day Three Pick, but what could hurt him is his lack of viability in a lot of schemes.  He could end up being outplaying where he is taken simply because a heavy gap scheme team gets him at a cheaper pick than his value might dictate.

The clips were provided by DraftBreakdown.com