Name: Deone Bucannon
School: Washington St.
Weight: 216 lbs.
Like it or not, strong safety Donte Whitner is likely to be wearing different colors in 2014.
This is not because he didn’t play well for the three years that he was in the Bay Area. In fact, most would argue that he performed better than expected. No, the separation comes because the 49ers simply don’t have the cap to bankroll him near his value.
Too many other contracts will take precedence over his. Therefore, the front office will dip into the draft for his clone and inevitable successor, Deone Bucannon, a body-rocking safety from Washington State. This will be their second trade.
Bucannon is a big-time hitter—one of the best in college football during his tenure—and brings ideal NFL measurables to the table as a rookie. Outside the broad size and density, he is a lengthy defensive back with a 78" wingspan. As a prospect, teams know he’ll be ready to go from day one.
As for his resume, the All-Pac-12 selection was also a known defensive leader and captain for the Cougars, demonstrating the brainpower to run a defense and the aura to influence those around him. On top of the thumping hits and radiance as a defensive player, natural awareness and closing speed enables Bucannon to cover and make plays on the back end.
He’s a complete safety.
Deone Bucannon is widely considered one of the top overall safety prospects in this draft outside Alabama’s HaHa Clinton-Dix, so there isn’t much to knock about his game, to be honest. He’s got the experience, and physically he can do it all.
But if we’re digging, a lot like Whitner, going for the knockout blow has cost Bucannon a tackle. Lack of balance, being too low and a failure to wrap up has resulted in him whiffing or getting trucked.
NFL Comparison: Donte Whitner, SS, San Francisco 49ers—a true nightmare in the secondary for wide receivers and tight ends going deep or across the middle, as well as running backs on the perimeter.
Name: Jarvis Landry
Weight: 195 lbs.
The 49ers need to continue adding to their stable of wide receivers, which will be in rebuilding mode this offseason. The only two wideouts the team is guaranteed to have for 2014 are six-year pro Michael Crabtree and Quinton Patton, who will be in his second year out of Louisiana Tech.
He missed most of his rookie season with a foot fracture.
The team’s 1,000-yard receiver Anquan Boldin is an unknown, while Mario Manningham and Jon Baldwin are likely headed out of town.
With such a deep wide receiver class, especially with a potential Day 2 run pending when all the first-tier pass-catchers go, LSU's Jarvis Landry could fall right in San Francisco's lap, or at least to the point where they slide up a few spots for him.
Jarvis Landry is a fast, powerful receiver who consistently displays strong hands at the point of the catch.
In 40 games played, he racked up 137 receptions, 1,809 yards and 15 touchdowns (just 12 starts). When he’s on the field, he’s a natural. He can be a real producer. Bleacher Report’s own SEC lead writer Barrett Sallee even made a case for Landry as the best receiver in college football in October, largely because of the consistency and reliability.
As far as his skill set goes, the most unique thing he can offer San Francisco is a quick-footed deep threat. This is an element the Niners don’t have. But don’t be mistaken; tremendous hands and run-after-catch ability also gives him the ceiling to develop into something far more.
Landry is still a bit feeble and could benefit from tacking on five to 10 pounds once he gets to the next level.
Though his swiftness has been his biggest asset, he has to have the strength to complement it at the next level in order to beat press coverage. Everyone is fast in the NFL, so he can’t leave himself vulnerable to being bullied. It’s imperative that he remains physical when making the jump from the NCAA level.
NFL Comparison: Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants—though faster, the quick-twitch ability, knack for finding open space, hands catching and dexterity on the route tree makes him a similar product at receiver.