PULLMAN – Former Washington State safety Deone Bucannon put up eye-popping numbers at last month’s NFL combine and hopes that he is rewarded for that performance by being selected early in the NFL draft, which begins May 8.
“I showed (NFL scouts) how much this means to me and the fact that if I get an opportunity … I’m going to be thankful for it and I’m going to run with it,” Bucannon said.
The All-America defensive back ran the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds, bench-pressed 225 pounds 19 times, vertically jumped 36 1/2 inches and finished the three-cone shuttle in 6.96 seconds, placing third among safeties in each event. His 125 inches in the broad jump were the second-best among safeties.
Those numbers were good enough that Bucannon likely won’t participate in individual drills at WSU’s pro day.
“His combine performances were phenomenal,” said Bucannon’s agent, Cameron Foster. “He was the fastest strong safety. He ran a 4.49 (40-yard dash). I have receivers and running backs that aren’t in the 4.4s. In reading a lot of these so-called draft analysts, the first thing they say about Deone is that he’s a great hitter, but that’s he’s slow.
“Well, I don’t think you can call him slow anymore after running a 4.49.”
Bucannon spent January and February preparing for the combine in Orlando, Fla., training with Tom Shaw, who originated Nike’s SPARQ system for measuring athleticism. Shaw says that he has tutored 10 Super Bowl MVPs and stars such as Chris Johnson and Deion Sanders.
“He was my speed coach, my strength coach (and) my conditioning coach,” Bucannon said. “He’s a great coach, great guy and he prepped me and had people put in place so that I wouldn’t be surprised with anything.”
While many NFL hopefuls use the time before the draft to put on muscle, Bucannon weighed in at the combine at 211 pounds, 4 pounds lighter than his 215-pound playing weight last season at WSU. Bucannon said that he lost the weight to enable him to run faster, but would like to play with “a heavier, more toned body frame.”
Foster said that his agency, the Foster and Easley Sports Management Group, elected not to have the already well-spoken Bucannon undergo extensive interview preparation before he met with representatives from NFL teams.
While both the player and his agent said that those interviews went well, he could not be prepared for every question in the infamously intimate and off-the-wall sessions.
“One (question) was from the Browns. They videotaped you and they asked you to name as many things as you can do with a brick in one minute, and that’s kind of hard to do because the first thing you want to say is, ‘throw it at somebody,’ ” Bucannon said with a laugh.
NFL.com projects Bucannon to be a fourth- or fifth-round pick but most mock drafts have him going in the second or third rounds.