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20 most important Patriots in 2017: No. 10, Marcus Cannon

Ryan Hannable
July 11, 2017 - 12:09 pm

With training camp approaching, we’re having a series featuring the 20 most important Patriots players for the upcoming season. The countdown will continue through July 24, the week training camp begins.

No. 10: Marcus Cannon

Position: Right tackle 

2016 stats: According to Pro Football Focus, 27 pressures allowed all year and named a second-team All-Pro

Why he’s No. 10: Cannon broke out in a big way last season and was rewarded with a contract extension in the middle of the season. In 2016, he surrendered only 27 pressures across nearly 300 more snaps than he has ever played in a season. The 29-year-old was a swing tackle in his first five seasons in the league, but offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia changed his technique last offseason, which paid huge dividends. Standing 6-foot-5, Cannon was regarded as one of the better right tackles in the game last season -- a huge improvement from prior years.

He’s extremely valuable to the Patriots for a number of reasons. First of all, protecting Tom Brady against some of the best pass rushers in the game, but also his ability to slide over to the left side of the line if need be. If Nate Solder were to get injured, the team likely would have Cannon slide over to the left side and have a replacement play right tackle -- an easier position. His versatility makes him more important than Solder. If Cannon were to miss significant time, the Patriots would have serious issues, especially with the depth behind him at tackle (Cameron Fleming, LaAdrian Waddle, and rookies Antonio Garcia and Conor McDermott).

Click here for the complete series to date.