NFL Draft: Patriots Take Chance on Marcus Cannon Despite Lymphoma

| by Alex Groberman

Two days after receiving his first chemotherapy treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, TCU offensive lineman Marcus Cannon was drafted by the New England Patriots.

When he originally arrived at the NFL combine in February, Cannon had no idea of the dramatic journey that lay ahead for him. Considered a top-rated draft prospect coming into the draft, the TCU’s star had his world turned upside down when a biopsy that revealed all wasn’t well.

Almost immediately upon receiving his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis, Cannon noticed teams turning away. His impressive showing alongside quarterback Andy Dalton as TCU defeated Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl en route to a 13-0 year seemed to no longer matter. Neither that nor him allowing zero sacks in the last two years was enough to save him from the dreaded “sick” label pasted onto him by GMs and teams.

Originally projected to go in the second or third rounds, Cannon fell all the way to the fifth round before being selected by the Patriots on Saturday. Not that the 22-year-old was complaining, of course.

"Me and my family were pretty ecstatic," he said. "After all that we figured out in the last couple of weeks, it's a blessing to have this opportunity to play in the NFL."

New England selected Cannon with the vision of playing him at guard, despite the fact that he served as a tackle in college. The hope is that he can fill the gap left behind by the retirement of Stephen Neal.

"He's a very highly rated player," said coach Bill Belichick. "We're comfortable with the situation and all that it entails."

The Patriots took Cannon wit the 10th pick of the fifth round, 138th pick overall.

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