Feb 23, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington State strong safety Deone Bucannon speaks to the media during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadum. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Deone Bucannon Delivers a First Round Performance at NFL Combine

The Washington State Cougar community will be quite proud of their talented NFL safety prospect Deone Bucannon, regardless of when he’s drafted in April. Meanwhile, he’s making us proud at the NFL Combine and setting himself up nicely too.

  Here’s the NFL.com analysis on Deone.  

STRENGTHS

Reads run and drops downhill quickly. Has an old-school mentality — likes contact and is a physical tackler (seeks to punish the ball carrier). Led the Pac-12 in tackles. Covers kicks and has an ideal mentality for special teams. Four-year starter and three-time captain.

WEAKNESSES

Average speed — struggles to recover from missteps and will not track anyone down from behind. Some tightness in his hips. Man-coverage limitations (struggles to match with slot receivers). Can be overaggressive and miss tackles. Does not always arrive under control in space. Misjudges angles.

BOTTOM LINE

Although he’s built like a cornerback, Bucannon’s style of play makes it easy to identify him as a tone-setting strong safety. Has coverage limitations, but brings the aggressiveness and physicality to carve a niche as a downhill box defender and core special-teams player.

Apparently NFL Draft analyst Mike Mayock was slightly skeptical of the “weaknesses” part as well, putting Deone in his second tier of safety prospects before the combine began.

Gotta imagine “Buc” raised his stock a little bit with some impressive numbers on Monday and Tuesday. Looking around at some of the presumed draft boards, there are at least a few teams looking at him in the high second round. That may bump him into the first for a team that really wants him (such as the SF 49ers) to keep him away from another who would come in and scoop him before the Niners (or insert interested team) would be able to get back to their second round pick.

One thing’s for sure, he’s a rare player in this class and a valuable commodity to any team that needs a day 1 starting strong safety in 2014. Everybody knew watching tape that he could hit and has a terrific nose for the ball, but he was perhaps undervalued as an overall prospect coming into the combine. Many overall boards had him around the 60 to 70 value.

That should no longer be the case after the combine numbers (especially the 4.49 40) prove that he is worthy of any team that would value him enough to pick him up in the first round before getting jumped in the second because too many teams need a play-making strong safety. After this performance and even before Pro Day, more interest is sure to befall him and his stock will only rise as a few teams look at necessary improvements to their defensive backfields counting down to NFL Draft day.

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