The NFL Draft begins in just a few hours and you can track it here. Former WSU safety Deone Bucannon could hear his name called today as a first rounder, and will almost certainly be picked either today or tomorrow. We have a story on the All-American's draft prospects, and will take a look at where he could land after the jump.
The book on Bucannon is that he is a physical safety with some deficiencies in the passing game that mean teams will likely try and move him closer to the line of scrimmage. Here are scouting reports from CBS, Walter Football and a nice one from CougCenter that incorporates video.
It is anyone's guess where Bucannon will end up, although certain teams with the right schemes and needs -- such as the Bears, Packers or Rams -- make intuitive sense. In ESPN head-to-head mock draft between analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McSay Bucannon went to Baltimore with the 48th pick in the draft. CBSSports.com's Rob Rang has the safety getting drafted much earlier by Green Bay with the 21st overall pick.
Because the draft is a three day affair and Bucannon will likely be the only player from WSU drafted, here are some likely landing spots for Bucannon. Of course, it's entirely possible that teams will trade their picks up and down and Bucannon will be off the board in a spot nobody predicted.
-- Baltimore, Round 1, pick 17: Bucannon would likely be called a "reach" by the analysts at this spot, and it's as early as he could likely conceivably go. The Ravens spent a first round pick on a safety last year in Matt Elam and they could do it again this season because the back end of the secondary is still a concern.
-- Green Bay, Round 1, pick 21: Here is Rang's prediction, predicated on the fact that San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick's running ability wreaked havoc on the Packers defense in two previous match ups. By adding a big-hitting safety who plays in the box, maybe Green Bay can make Kaepernick think twice about leaving the pocket.
-- Kansas City, Round 1, pick 23: The Chiefs have been experimenting with moving All Pro strong safety Eric Berry back to free safety. Drafting Bucannon could make the switch easier to stomach since the team would still have a powerful player close to the line of scrimmage. Berry's immense ability would complement Bucannon well, allowing him to focus on the run game with a security blanket deep.
-- New England, Round 1, pick 29: The Patriots have a void at strong safety, they spent one of their 30 visits hosting Bucannon, and the local media seem to think he'd be a fit. Coach Bill Belichick probably wouldn't mind another Rodney Harrison on his defense.
-- Saint Louis, Round 2, pick 44: The Rams have a huge need at safety, but it's at free safety. Bucannon will likely be the top safety on the board at this point, but may not be versatile enough to play free safety for the Rams, who move their safety net around quite a bit in Gregg Williams' scheme.
-- Dallas, Round 2, pick 47 -- Most analysts have the Cowboys taking a premiere safety with the 14th pick in the draft. If Dallas decides to bolster its weak defensive line instead, Bucannon would be a good value pick at a position of need.
-- Baltimore, Round 2, pick 48
-- Chicago, Round 2, pick 51 -- The Bears need to get younger in the secondary and Bucannon has the physicality necessary to compete in the NFC North. Major Wright's departure left a major hole at safety.