Bucky Brooks: Canady More Than Just a Corner

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(Editor's Note: The DallasCowboys.com team welcomes Bucky Brooks to the staff. Bucky brings a wealth of experience, not only as a former NFL player of five seasons, but also as a scout and on the pro personnel side for two teams. In the last decade, Brooks has worked in the media, including the NFL Network. Bucky will provide his own analysis and opinions of the Cowboys but also the entire NFL. Today, he breaks down one of the new free-agent signings in cornerback Maurice Canady.)

  • Name: Maurice Canady
  • Position: CB
  • College: Virginia
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 193
  • Season: 4th
  • Games Studied: 2019 (Ravens vs. Bengals and Steelers; Jets vs. Bengals)

Overview:

Canady is a developmental cornerback with outstanding special teams' ability. The fourth-year pro plays with great effort and energy while displaying improving skills as a cornerback. After starting his career on the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad, Canady has become a dependable reserve cornerback and special teams standout. He is ideally suited to handle nickel or dime defender duties as an outside corner in sub-packages but he has logged significant snaps as an emergency fill-in in the starting rotation.

In man coverage, Canady is at his best when he utilizes bump-and-run technique. He displays enough patience at the line of scrimmage to effectively shadow shifty receivers down the field. Although he flashes a strong one- and two-handed jam, Canady primarily operates at a shadow boxer early in the routes. He generally maintains hip-pocket positioning but he occasionally loses his leverage and resorts to grabbing or clutching receivers to regain control down the field.

In off coverage, Canady relies heavily on a shuffle or "squat" technique to stay in close proximity to receivers. Despite winning his fair share of downs, the shoddy technique has put in bad positions and he is unable to recover prior to the ball's arrival. As a result, Canady allows a number of underneath completions in blitz situations due to his technique.

As a zone defender, Canady started to show a better feel for where he fits into the puzzle in coverage. With the Jets, in particular, he started to quickly diagnose route concepts before making aggressive breaks on the throw. He showed up quickly when the ball was thrown and wasn't afraid to mix it up as a tackler on the perimeter. In fact, Canady's aggressiveness as a hitter and tackler showed up in run support and in the kicking game. He files around to the ball with reckless abandon and his overall physicality stands out when reviewing the tape.

On special teams, Canady brings an aggressive approach to the "Gunner" (Punt) and "Vise" (Punt Return) positions. He wins with speed, aggressiveness, and physicality while also displaying dependable open-field tackling skills. Canady not only has a knack for getting ball carriers down with traditional wrap-up tackles but he will also chop down runners with cross-body blows.

Strengths:

  • Bump-and-run specialist
  • Dependable tackler
  • High effort player
  • A-plus special teams player

Weaknesses:

  • Unpolished technician
  • Ball production
  • What scouts are saying?

Canady is a smart player with intriguing potential as a developmental prospect. He's tough and physical with adequate skills in man coverage. Although Canady is a little undisciplined in zone coverage, he started to play better down the stretch last season when he locked in on his technique and played with more discipline. If Canady continues work on his coverage skills, particularly his footwork (backpedal/shuffle) while thriving as a "Gunner" (Punt), "Vise" (Punt Return) and a cover guy (Kickoff), he could emerge as a solid contributor as a third or fourth corner/core special teams playmaker.

How does he fit in with the Cowboys?

Canady gives the Cowboys an intriguing developmental prospect to throw into the cornerback rotation. He has the requisite size, athleticism, and speed to match up with bigger receivers while also developing a well-rounded game that could give him a chance to contribute as a nickel or dime defender. In addition, Canady's high-revving motor and energetic playing style should make him a standout special teams contributor as he emerges as one of the Cowboys' top playmakers in the kicking game.

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