Now, as Viking fans we all understand that the biggest need on the team is at the Quarterback position. I myself, however, refuse to try and evaluate them. I feel as if there are too many factors that go into a quarterback succeeding in the NFL that don’t mean as much at other positions. Things like relationships with team mates and coaches have a lot more to do with a quarterback’s success as opposed to say, a safety. I like to watch and evaluate the safety position for a number of reasons. For one they start every play alone on the field, they are on their own little island and you can see their first step clearly. Another reason is because at safety, you either make the play, or you do not. The pass either ends up in the receiver’s hands, or it does not. You are the last line of the defense on every play and if there is a long touchdown play, almost every time it has something to do with the safety screwing up. One of my favorite safeties to watch this year was Washington State’s Deone Bucannon.
· 6’1 and have seen reports of him weighing anywhere from 200-220
· Grew up in Fairfield, California
· Senior, 4 year letter winner
· First team Associated Press All-American, Second-Team All-American by Walter Camp Football Foundation
· All Pac-12 first team (First Washington State defensive back since Eric Frampton in 2006)
· Jim Thorpe Award semi-finalist
· Led Pac-12 with 114 tackles
· Tied for first in Pac-12 with 6 interceptions
I have read multiple scouting reports on Bucannon, and no one can seem to agree. A scouting report on Bleacher Report said that Bucannon is a very good cover safety, but is a liability in run support. Walter football .com said that Bucannon is very good in run support but might be a work in progress in defending the pass game. So, I did some digging myself. Obviously Bucannon had an insanely productive senior year as well as career, but he is not the top ranked safety on most big boards. As of now he is actually the fifth safety on Mike Mayock’s position rankings. Upon actually seeing Bucannon play a few games I agreed with some of these reports and disagreed with parts of others. Bucannon is almost like a guided missile in run support, he finds the ball very quickly. His ability in run support to get to the ball quickly reminds me of Kam Chancellor of the Seahawks. We all know too well how he can meet a running back in the hole and deliver a hit, well I think Bucannon shows some of that same ability. His coverage range is big and he can stay on tight ends on slot receivers fairly well. I was impressed by his ball skills especially. Against Oregon in 2012 he had two interceptions where he made a play on the ball very nicely. He had a very good showing at the senior bowl that probably raised his draft stock a bit. He played well in the one on ones at practice, and in the game itself.
One glaring hole I saw in Bucannon’s game footage was his tackling. As I said above he does a good job of meeting a running back in the hole or delivering a hit to a ball carrier on a crossing route, but his technique if unchanged will result in the ball carrier either bouncing off of him, or getting a flag for helmet to helmet. He definitely needs to show improvement on wrapping up and bringing them down, as well as hitting in the chest or the hips to avoid penalties. I would much rather have a safety on our team that hits like Kam Chancellor than one who hits like Donte "Hitner" or Brandon Meriwether. (If you know neither of them, they are known around the league for their helmet to helmet penalties). Because of Bucannon’s quick reads in run support, I also saw him get sucked in on play action a few times, but I think that is an issue that is coachable.
All in all I think Bucannon could be a good day two pick up for the Vikings, and he could eventually be part of a potent duo with Harrison Smith. I know that Packer, Eagle, and Rams fans definitely like what they see in Bucannon and I would hate to see him in the Green and Yellow. I think that our second round pick would be too early for him, not because he is not good enough to be taken there, but because safety is not one of our biggest needs. (However if you believe in truly taking the best player available, he could be your guy). If he is available in the third I would like to see him in a Vikings uniform.
I encourage all of you to look at Deone Bucannon’s videos on Draftbreakdown.com and see if you agree with my assessment.
(On a side note, I cannot decide who I should write up next, Scott Crichton from Oregon State, or Charles Sims from West Virginia, or possibly other)