Deone Bucannon’s name fits his style of play. The second-year safety looks like he is shot out of a, well, cannon and can be just as destructive to an opponents game-plan. At 6’1”, 210 lbs, he is built to punish. During each training camp drill or scrimmage, his hits can be heard throughout University of Phoenix Stadium.
As he enters his second season, Bucannon expects those cracks to be commonplace on Sundays.
“(We) have a lot of great guys, great veterans to lean on so it’s going awesome,” Bucannon said. “It’s my second year going to camp and my second year going into this defense so I feel like it’s going a lot smoother than the first.”
The first camp led to a rookie season that landed him third on the team with 75 tackles in 2014. After an All-American senior season at Washington State, where he led the Pac-12 in tackles and was tied for first in interceptions, Bucannon was inserted almost immediately into the Cardinals defense as a rookie. He spent time playing both safety and linebacker, providing versatility to a unit that was fifth in scoring last season.
“Since I’m at two positions, it allows me to progress throughout what they expect me to inside the defense. I’m learning both positions and I feel like I’m a better player because I’ve had an offseason to study the playbook.”
Being wedged between ball-hawks like Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu in the secondary and pass rushers like Alex Okafor and Calais Campbell helped ignite his versatility on the field and develop Bucannon into a playmaking rookie.
“When you have veterans and real leaders, you can’t help but learn a lot from them just by watching how they play and how they go about their business, how they handle their bodies,” Buccanon said. “It rubs off on you, you try to absorb as much information as you can to complement them.”
And Bucannon’s versatility complements the defense nicely. One play, you’ll find him playing up with the linebackers. The next, he could be floating back towards the secondary and everywhere in between. It’s a lot to juggle for a young NFL player, but Bucannon doesn’t mind.
“I’ll go wherever. I’m just trying to get on the field as much as I possibly can. The more versatile you are, the longer your career will last, whether it’s special teams, or different positions on the defense,” Bucannon said. “I just want to be as useful to the team as possible. They put it on my plate, and I will happily do it. No questions asked.”