The NFL’s free agency period kicked off this week in blurring fashion and safeties flew off the board to buyers in the Super Bowl sweepstakes the first day, leaving some teams with glaring weaknesses at the position high and dry. Here are some of the names that moved and/or stayed that could impact Deone Bucannon’s draft status.
- San Francisco 49ers- Signed Antoine Bethea
- New Orleans Saints – Signed Jairus Byrd
- Kansas City Chiefs – Re-signed Hussain Abdullah
- NY Giants – Re-signed Stevie Brown
- Cleveland Browns – Signed Donte Whitner
- Denver Broncos – Signed T.J. Ward
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Re-signed Will Allen
Presumably, those teams no longer need a guy like Bucannon to come in and start, which means they won’t be after him in the draft. The Broncos and 49ers late in the first and Browns early in the second were teams we thought might have been high on him, but now they are set at strong safety. So that’s three off the board, but New Orleans signing Byrd and the Chiefs, Steelers and Giants re-signing their guys back there left some teams out in the cold. Here are some teams that really might look at Bucannon.
- Philadelphia is the prime team in the market for Bucannon that losses four safeties and after letting Nate Allen go and releasing Patrick Chung they are in serious need of help. They were hoping to get one of those elite guys in free agency but never really got their chance. The Eagles are bringing Bucannon in for a private workout shortly, after attending his Pro Day on Thursday. This would indicate that Philly is very interested in taking Bucannon at 22, where they pick in the first round. At the very least, this really bumps Deone’s draft status from anywhere in the 17-21 range for anyone who doesn’t want to miss out on his acquiring.
- St. Louis is another team that could really use an upgrade and didn’t get anything out of free agency, at least in terms of elite guys. They have two first round picks (2 and 13) and are prime candidates to move down, acquire more picks and still pick up a guy like Bucannon, if they don’t take on of the two other top safeties in Calvin Pryor of Louisville or Haha Clinton-Dix of Alabama at 13. If they do in fact move down, look at where they move to determine what they’re thinking of Bucannon. If it’s before 22, the Eagles might be out of luck. The Rams are the one team that I see moving down and still being able to pick up a 3rd first round pick, which would be crazy efficient and should for sure lock up his first round status, whether the Rams get him or the Eagles do it to make sure the Rams don’t.
- The Detroit Lions at 10 and Chicago Bears at 14 are teams that might look at Bucannon, but more than likely Pryor and Clinton-Dix are more on their radar at those spots. The Lions sent representatives to WSU’s Pro Day yesterday, putting in play a possible move down by the Lions to get more picks and still pick up Bucannon if they think he’s comparable enough to Pryor.
- If “Buc” moves out of the first round, the Washington Redskins would likely be dancing and scoop him up at 34 in round 2. It would be shocking to me if he makes it past that, but any one of these next 5 would surely take him as well. Minnesota Vikings (40), Rams, Lions, Steelers (44-46) Baltimore Ravens (48) and Bears (51).
- Other scenarios if he doesn’t get picked in the first round have the Arizona Cardinals or Indianapolis Colts moving up to get him.
Bottom line, he’s not making it past 51 for sure and as it stands I don’t think he makes it past the Eagles at 22. The fact that they couldn’t lock up a prime-time replacement leaves them in desperate need there and he not only fills the need, but has an in with Chip Kelly who coached against him for three seasons while at Oregon.
The fact that he’s going in for a private workout puts him squarely into their first round cross-hairs. As long as he aces the private performance, anybody else who really wants him will have to consider ‘reaching’ for him ahead of the Eags. If he did get picked there, he would be the first Cougar DB since Marcus Trufant to be picked in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Teams that attended WSU’s Pro Day include Seattle, Green Bay, Detroit, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Diego. CB Damante Horton, OL John Fullington, OL Rico Forbes, OL Matt Goetz, LB Justin Sagote, P Mike Bowlin and DT Ioane Gauta are others that worked out on Pro Day for the Cougars, none will be drafted but could get a look in the following un-drafted free agency. K Andrew Furney is another NFL hopeful who’s been on a few teams’ free agency radar.