By: Kayla Mortellaro
PHOENIX— Arizona Cardinals second year safety Deone Bucannon is the subject of this edition of the Cards Camp Spotlight on The Blitz with Rich Gray heard weekdays at 2:15 p.m.
Deone Bucannon is in his second year with the Arizona Cardinals after he was drafted in the first round with the 27th overall selection in 2014.
Bucannon played his college football at Washington State University from 2010 to 2013. From his safety position, Bucannon earned First-Team AP All-American in 2013 and First-Team All-Pac-12 in 2013.
Bucannon had an immediate impact for the Redbirds in his rookie season in 2014. Not only was he a smart player who could adapt to multiple positions, he also proved to be a hard hitter. Bucannon who weighs in at 211 pounds and is 6’1” tall, spent most of his rookie season in a Cardinals uniform playing a hybrid of safety and linebacker. He was forced into linebacker duties because of the numerous injuries and suspensions suffered from other linebackers on the team.
Last season, Bucannon played in 16 games and started nine times. He racked up 83 total tackles, 66 of which were solo efforts. Bucannon also had two sacks, forced one fumble, and had a game-saving pass deflection in the end zone against Philadelphia in week eight.
With the continued lack of depth at the linebacker position this season (Sean Weatherspoon’s hamstring injury keeping him out of all of training camp so far), Bucannon is likely to see a lot of action in the middle of the field. Bucannon talked about his versatility within the defense.
“Coach Bett[cher] put a great game plan together, a great defense together, and honestly that’s with everyone on the field,” Bucannon said. “They [Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu] play in the zone sometimes too, it’s a lot of versatility. Sometimes I will be in the middle of the field, sometimes I’ll be playing zone, sometimes I will be coming off the edge, sometimes I’ll be blitzing. I think we take pride in being that kind of defense and anybody and everybody is an athlete here.”
Bucannon does not care about being just a safety or just a linebacker, because he considers himself to be a football player.
“I’m a football player first,” Bucannon said. “I just see myself as an athlete. You can put me wherever you want. I play a little bit of safety, I play linebacker. Honestly, wherever the coaches want me to be. I take pride in that. I am happy they see me as a player who can do that. I don’t feel like a lot of people can do that and I think they have a lot of faith in me that I can.”
Already this year, Bucannon has shown just how hard he can hit. Unfortunately, it was against his own teammate. In the second preseason game against the Chargers, Bucannon came flying in on a play and hit his own teammate, Calais Campbell, which knocked the wind out of Campbell. At training camp on Monday after the game, Campbell set the record straight about Bucannon.
“That’s the hardest I’ve been hit, just so you know,” Campbell said. “You’re [Bucannon] a hard hitter.”
The Cardinals will need Bucannon to stay aggressive, and continue to embrace and excel in his versatile role on the defense. As Bucannon’s role expands, the Cardinals defense will also continue to hit its stride.
The Blitz with Rich Gray can be heard weekdays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. with the Cards Camp Spotlight every day at 2:15 p.m.