When talking about the defense of the Arizona Cardinals you usually talk about CB Patrick Peterson. However, several other players on this defense make immediate impacts. One of those players Deone Bucannon. Bucannon is a natural safety. However, he has transitioned his game to be a linebacker in the NFL.
The Arizona Cardinals drafted Deon Bucannon with the 27th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He played his college ball at Washington State. Here he was a three-time and concluded his college career with 384 tackles and 15 INTs.
Bucannon is 6’1” and 211lbs. He played safety in college. He loves to play downhill and accelerates quickly to his target. Bucannon is very old school in the way he plays. Thus, he is a punishing tackler. He also plays on special teams. His mentality fits his style of play.
The Arizona Cardinals have transitioned Bucannon from safety to a hybrid linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. Here he has excelled tremendously. Although the transition was, slow.
During his rookie season, Deon Bucannon played in all 16 games. He started nine of those playing all games at the safety position. After the season was over, he had 86 tackles and 2 sacks.
So far, in his short career, his best season was in 2015. This was the year that Bucannon began making the transition to playing linebacker. He started all 16 games for the Cardinals. Racking up 109 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 INT and 1 fumble recovery.
Bucannon was well on his way to another stellar year in 2016 until the injury bug bit him. The Cardinals placed him on injured reserve in December of 2016. This finished his season. He would finish his shortest season to date with 89 tackles.
Bucannon will start 2017 on the PUP list. There are hopes that he will be ready for the start of the regular season.
Bucannon is a strong and vital piece to the success of the Arizona Cardinals defense. If they expect to regain any of their 2015 playoff form they will need him and the rest of their defense to be in top shape. The defense is the star of this team. Deone Bucannon is just one point on that star.
Editor’s Note: This article can also be seen in our upcoming NFL Preview Edition.