For four years, dedicated fans of the Virginia Cavaliers got to watch cornerback Maurice Canady do his thing for their team each and every Saturday in the fall. Canady had a prosperous career for the Cavs, and eventually received the honor of being his team's number one cornerback. So to find out more about the young enigma that is the Ravens' sixth-round pick, I spoke to Matt Trogdon of Streaking the Lawn, our sister blog dedicated to all things Cavaliers.
Q: Okay, so when I look at Canady's draft profile, I see a guy with prototypical size who was a number one cornerback for a Power Five team. He also has shown some traits that are very desirable at the next level. So is there any logical explanation for his slide all the way to the sixth round?
A: I think Maurice can contribute at the next level. Admittedly, he struggled his senior year, and I'm sure that didn't help his draft stock. But his first three years saw improvement each season, and he was Virginia's best defensive back for most of his career. Still, he didn't have the senior year that he would have needed to appear as a can't-miss prospect.
Q: How do you see Canady lining up in the pros? Is Canady well-suited to be covering the entire field? Or will he be relegated to covering between the sticks?
A: Canady struggled a bit when put on opposing teams' best receiver. I think he has the quickness to play all over the field, but it might make sense to try him out in between the hashes first to see how he does.
Q: A lot of the concerns surrounding Canady seem to stem from the fact that he conceded six touchdowns last season. Now while this certainly sounds bad on paper, I've heard some stick up for Canady and claim that this was a matter of circumstance, and that Virginia's coordinator was asking too much of Canady by putting him in bad situations, such as single coverage against an opponent's best receiver. Is there any truth to this in your eyes?
A: The context is important here. Virginia played a blitz-heavy defense that worked well during Canady's junior season when the defensive line was anchored by now-49er Eli Harold. Virginia's pass rush wasn't half as effective during Canady's senior season, and the entire defense suffered. I'd be more optimistic about Canady's prospects with more talented players around him.
A: Maurice showed flashes at punt returner at Virginia, but that wasn't until the third game of his senior season. I don't want to discount his touchdown return, but it's important to mention that it was against William and Mary...the weakest team on UVA's schedule. Virginia's special teams under Mike London were WORSE than horrendous, with Maurice being the one bright spot. He showed some wiggle and play-making ability as a returner, but more importantly he was dependable as a punt catcher...which Virginia sorely needed. I think he's probably worth a look, and who know how good he can be with competent coaching around him.