INDIANAPOLIS – A.J. Cann believes he has proven himself as an NFL-ready player.
Cann was a four-year starter for South Carolina and is hoping to be the first offensive guard selected in the NFL draft, which begins April 30.
“I consistently played pretty good football,” Cann said Wednesday afternoon at the NFL Combine here. “I hope it will benefit me when teams make a pick.”
Cann played both guard positions for the Gamecocks, but he said he doesn’t have a preference at the next level.
“A lot of guys travel because they can play both positions,” Cann said. “I would make that travel roster because I can play both positions. Being able to show them that I can play many different positions will benefit any team I get drafted to.”
Cann has taken pointers from former Alabama guard Chance Warmack. Cann wanted to make sure he was healthy for the Combine, so he declined a Senior Bowl invitation and instead nursed a knee sprain. Feeling 100 percent healthy now, Cann said he wants to impress at Lucas Oil Stadium in Friday’s on-field drills and with his interviews with teams.
Cann will meet with at least 23 teams this week. As for his on-field play, Cann said one of his strengths is playing at “a low level” — meaning he stays under his pads and has good balance.
“I’m athletic and strong and, for a big guy, I’m quick,” Cann said. “I think I can block anybody I put my mind to.”
One opponent he enjoyed facing was Clemson defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. The Gamecocks won three of those four matchups during Cann’s career.
“He’s a smart player and very physical,” Cann said of Jarrett.
The 6-foot-3, 313-pound Cann said he’s a good character player and that’s another one of his strong suits.
“You can trust me off the field,” he said. “Nobody’s ever had a problem with me. There’s never been any issue at all.”
He took a trip to Israel this past summer to help teach the game to some aspiring players.
“It helped me a lot knowing how much they loved the game,” Cann said. “They had only played it a couple years, and it made me think about the opportunity I have and how blessed I am to play this game every day and how close I am to the opportunity like I am now.”
AT THE COMBINE
Palmetto State players at the NFL Combine:
Stephone Anthony, linebacker
Tavaris Barnes, defensive end
Vic Beasley, defensive end
Corey Crawford, defensive end
Grady Jarrett, defensive tackle
Garry Peters, cornerback
Bradley Pinion, punter
Rory Anderson, tight end
A.J.Cann, offensive guard
Mike Davis, running back
Corey Robinson, offensive tackle
J.T. Surratt, defensive tackle
Edmond Robinson, linebacker