Deone Bucannon NFL Draft 2014: Scouting Report Breakdown for Cardinals S

Ian Wharton@NFLFilmStudyContributor IFebruary 19, 2014

Washington State safety Deone Bucannon (20) runs back an interception during the first half of the NCAA New Mexico Bowl college football game against Colorado State, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State (Height: 6’1”; Weight: 211 lbs)

Arizona Cardinals (Cardinals trade 20th pick to Saints for 27th and 91st picks)

First Round: 27th Pick

NFL Comparison: James Ihedigbo, S, Baltimore Ravens

Combine Weigh In
601021132 1/4"9 5/8"
Combine Results
40-yard dash10-yard splitVertBroad3-ConeShuttle
4.49N/A36.5"10' 4"6.964.26


  • Physically intimidating safety with great size and strength. Receivers are conscious of him when running across the middle of the field.
  • Comfortable in coverage when assigned to slot receivers and tight ends. Although not a dominant coverage safety, he is big enough to force receivers to adjust their routes and disrupt the timing of the offense.
  • Quick play-recognition skills that were a major bonus in the Pac-12, which featured many spread offenses with package plays.
  • His ability to diagnose whether the play was a run or a pass contributed to his massive tackle totals, which were among the highest in the nation and very impressive for a safety.
  • Very hard hitter in space, and he keeps his hands active when assisting on tackles; both lead to forced fumbles.
  • While in man coverage, he shows the ability to throttle down quickly and efficiently and then close on the receiver without wasting motion.
  • Shows advanced technique in man coverage, with quick feet that stay under his shoulder pads. His lateral agility is aided by clean movement techniques.
  • He has good ball skills, as he keeps his eyes on the quarterback and receiver, rarely falling asleep on the receiver.
  • His closing burst is good enough to step in front of the receiver to get the ball.
  • He carried the Washington State defense, which clearly lacked competent talent to surround Bucannon. He was forced to try to compensate for miscues by his teammates regularly.


  • Despite the gaudy tackle numbers, he often finds himself in a position that he has to lunge tackle for the feet of the ball-carrier. He overpursues at times when crashing from the secondary.
  • Long-distance speed is adequate, but his range is limited by not having great speed. As a strong safety, he is likely limited to playing half of the field when in a zone.
  • His zone instincts are lacking, and he is vulnerable to being looked off the open man by the quarterback. His eye discipline will need to improve if he wants to become an all-around safety.
  • Route-recognition skills are not currently developed, as he won’t anticipate where the receiver is going to break. As he studies film and becomes familiar with NFL personnel, this could improve with experience.
  • He’s still learning and improving on how to bait the quarterback to throwing a pass that he can jump. The next-level ball skills are what separate him from elite safety prospects.
  • He struggles to get through blockers, as he doesn’t use technique; he just tries to barrel through. His hand usage and placement will need to improve to become a better defender against the run.
Collegiate Statistics
2010Washington State8472
2011Washington State8073
2012Washington State10684
2013Washington State11416

Personal Notes

  • Former Rivals.com 3-star prospect out of Fairfield, Calif.
  • Participated in the 2014 Senior Bowl.
  • Earned four varsity letters after starting 43 of 49 games.
  • Named First-Team All-American in 2013.
  • Named Second-Team All-Pac-12 in 2012.

Ratings Chart

Graph made by http://nces.ed.gov


Bucannon stands near the top of this defensive back class due to impressive athleticism and physical traits. He has all the tools to become an All-Pro player, but he needs to develop and refine some aspects of his game to get there. With big, physical safeties becoming the new NFL fad, expect to hear his name early on Day 2.

Draft Projection: Second Round