Detroit Lions Draft Countdown: Making the Case for Deone Bucannon

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Detroit Lions Draft Countdown: Making the Case for Deone Bucannon
Dean Hare

The Detroit Lions don't need a safety in the 2014 NFL draft. They need Deone Bucannon.

The Washington State product is the exact type of player Detroit can benefit from adding to the roster. Any other pick in the second round would be a waste and so would taking Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round. That's how perfect this marriage could be.

Why? Let's break it down.

 

The Lions Need a Safety...Somewhat

Just because it seems obvious, doesn't make it true. With the addition of serviceable veteran James Ihedigbo, the Lions aren't as hard up for an immediate starter as one would think.

Detroit plans on playing Glover Quin at the free-safety spot and letting Ihedigbo lay the wood in the box. That's a good place for him as his 91 total tackles and second-best ranking against the run for his position would attest.*

But Ihedigbo isn't the long-term solution. He was only inked to a two-year deal that could be turned into a one-year contract with only a $375,000 price tag to cut him prior to next season.

That plays perfectly for Detroit and Mr. Bucannon. It would give him the time many feel he needs to develop without costing the team dearly on the field. 

Yes, that means fans wouldn't get to see much of the second-round pick in 2014. That isn't going to sit well, but keep reading. He'll be worth it.

 

Bucannon has the Size

Deone Bucannon stands 6'1", which is on the bigger side for safeties, but one look at him will confuse you. He appears and plays even bigger than his frame and the accompanying 211 pounds. 

He is the prototypical strong safety in terms of size and would complement Quin for the next three to five years depending on how things pan out. Put him in the box and offenses will have to account for him in the run game because the kid has more than good genetics.

He loves to hit. Much like Louis Delmas before him, Bucannon will fly around the field looking to make his presence felt. The only difference is his knees don't carry the same wear, and there is one other little difference.

 

He Can Tackle

Most big hitters whiff on plenty of tackles. It's inevitable they will put their heads down and not see the guy they're supposed to be tackling, resulting in hands and arms full of air. 

Why am I telling you this? You probably watched the aforementioned Delmas torpedo past ball-carriers for the past three years.

And that's why Bucannon is such a must-have. He can lay the wood as well as tackle. 

Bucannon's College Statistics
Year Tackles Passes Defensed Interceptions
2010 84 7 2
2011 80 7 3
2012 106 8 4
2013 114 1 6

http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/deone-bucannon-1.html

(Side note: A serious tip of hat to fellow Featured Columnist Ian Wharton for compiling that data. His scouting report was on point.)

As was mentioned earlier, new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin will be phasing away from the split safety roles the former regime employed. Austin wants someone to be the banging strong safety and dominate the run game. Bucannon can do that. 

 

He Doesn't Stare in the Air

Since I've spent so much time harping on Bucannon's ability to stuff the box, its understandable if you didn't realize Bucannon has some serious ball skills. But make no mistake about it. The kid will challenge wideouts in the air and he has the size to do it.

His 23 passes defenses and 15 career interceptions, including six his senior year, prove Bucannon knows how to attack the pass. His only downfall will be keeping up with the smarter, quicker offenses he will face in the NFL.

But again, that's why this situation is so simpatico. The Lions will get the game-changing safety they need, even if they have to wait a year, while Bucannon will walk into a defense built to exploit his natural talents. 

Don't say I didn't warn you, Mr. Mayhew

 

*Stats and ranking courtesy of Pro Football Focus and require a subscription.

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