Although he wasn’t the most high profile selection made by the New York Jets in the 2018 NFL Draft, sixth-round pick Trenton Cannon could very well make an immediate impact. Let’s take a look at the early expectations for the Virginia State product.
Although he played his collegiate ball at the Division II level, Cannon has seen quite a bit of success over the last few years. Standing 5-11 and weighing in at 185 lbs., Cannon served as the backup running back for Virginia State in 2016, rushing for 1,214 yards and 18 touchdowns on only 168 carries. This stat line earned him first-team All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association honors.
In 2017, meanwhile, the 23-year-old was handed the reigns as the team’s starting running back and he performed well, rushing for 1,638 yards and 17 touchdowns on 212 attempts. Once again, he was awarded first-team All-CIAA honors.
When looking at Cannon’s skills as a running back, his explosive speed, lateral agility and cutting ability stick out first and foremost. With that being said, he could fit well into the Jets backfield and he may be called on to add some spark to a group that includes Bilal Powell, Isaiah Crowell, and Elijah McGuire.
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However, I feel as if the Jets’ front office will be expecting the most from Cannon in the special teams department, specifically as a returner. Although he had success as a running back in college, Cannon gained recognition as a dangerous and explosive return man and the Jets are in desperate need of a player to fill that role.
In 2016, Cannon served as the starting returner for Virginia State, returning 14 kicks for 449 yards and one touchdown. He then improved quite a bit in 2017, returning 25 kicks for 821 yards and two touchdowns.
Given that the Jets’ backfield isn’t exactly solidified, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the team give Cannon some carries and the chance to prove himself. Although he has some areas to improve upon before becoming a legitimate running back at the next level, the Jets’ front office and coaching staff are well aware of this.
As a return man, however, Cannon has proved his worth and the Jets are likely expecting him to not only fill this role but to fill it sooner rather than later. And if he performs in this capacity similar to how he did in college, he’ll likely have a permanent position with the Jets for the foreseeable future.