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The writers that cover NFL teams every day have decided that Deone Bucannon was one of the league's best rookies in 2014.
The Pro Football Writers of America included the first-year safety out of Washington State in their All-Rookie team, which was released on Tuesday. Bucannon started nine games, made 81 tackles and forced a fumble for the Arizona Cardinals, the team that made him their first-round draft choice last spring.
His best game came in a week 8 win over Philadelphia in which he made a season-high eight tackles, deflected a pass and recovered a fumble.
D.J. Shelton's willingness to rebound and ability to hit the occasional 3-pointer made him a valuable player for Washington State during his three years in Pullman. While the Cougars did not find much success while Shelton was in school, he still has a chance to be remembered among a select group of former players who found success in the pros.
While Shelton went unselected in last week's NBA draft, he will have a shot to impress professional teams while playing for Atlanta in the NBA summer league. The league's regular season runs from July 11-15 with playoffs running from July 16-21. If you have NBA TV, or sign up here for $15, you can likely watch Shelton play alongside fellow Atlanta rookie Adreian Payne, who the Hawks made the 15th pick in the draft after watching him score 41 points against Delaware in Spokane.
In other WSU news …
— CBS takes a look at which Cougars have NFL prospects.
— Deone Bucannon is already impressing in Arizona.
— SLAM magazine has a profile of incoming WSU basketball player Trevor Dunbar.
— The ESPN Pac-12 blog has a Q&A with special teams coordinator and assistant head coach Eric Russell.
All-American, first round NFL draft pick, now Deone Bucannon is also a multi-millionaire after signing a four-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals that is worth $7,709,200 according to Ross Jones of FOX Sports. Nearly all of it, $6,237,946, is guaranteed.
Bucannon became the first player out of Washington State to be drafted in the NFL draft's first round in a decade when Arizona took him with the 27th overall pick. He was a four-year starter for the Cougars, leading the team in tackles and interceptions his senior year as WSU made its first bowl game since 2003.
Late this evening the Arizona Cardinals drafted Deone Bucannon out of Washington State with the 27th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. We've got a blog post up and a story coming shortly but follow the jump for some quotes and reaction to WSU's first first-rounder since 2003.
Former Washington State safety Deone Bucannon only had to suffer through one nervous draft day, hearing his name called late on Thursday evening when the Arizona Cardinals made him the 27th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The strong safety is the first Cougar selected in the draft's first round since Marcus Trufant went No. 11 to the Seattle Seahawks in 2003.
The Cardinals moved down in the draft by trading the No. 20 pick to the Saints in exchange for the No. 27 as well as a third round pick.
In college Bucannon was known for his big hits and he led the Pac-12 with 114 tackles, as well as leading the Cougars with five interceptions. He'll fit right in with the physical NFC West division as the Cardinals hope try to build a defense resembling the 49ers and the Super Bowl champion Seahawks.
Last year Arizona ranked sixth in overall defense, allowing just 317.4 yards per game and a best-in-the-NFL 84.4 rushing yards per game. The Cardinals intercepted 20 passes last season, tied for fifth in the league.
Bucannon joins a strong secondary, headlined by All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie at the other corner spot and Tyrann Matthieu at safety. The addition on Thursday of an All-American at the other safety spot rounds out what could be one of the NFL's most complete defensive backfields.
We hope to have more from Bucannon later tonight.
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.
From Pullman — Deone Bucannon was at today's Washington State basketball game against USC to accept the CFPA Elite Defensive Back trophy at halftime. Before the game he spoke with the media to talk about his preparation for the upcoming NFL Draft, his performance at the recent NFL Combine and the award.
Former Washington State safety Deone Bucannon has been in Indianapolis since Saturday, but his work begins in earnest today. After bench pressing 225 pounds 19 times yesterday — good enough for third among defensive backs — he'll participate in a series of drills. Bucannon is projected as a second or third round pick by most analysts, and his performance today could tip the scales in either direction.
Bucannon was unofficially timed at 4.50 seconds in both of his 40-yard dash attempts this morning. That time would have made him the fourth fastest safety in 2013, but you should expect his official time to be a couple ticks slower.
We'll update this post as more results become available.
UPDATE: (10:44) Bucannon's 40-yard dash time was actually revised downward, officially clocking in at 4.49, third fastest among safeties. His vertical jump was measured at 36.5 inches and his broad jump came in at 125 inches, placing him in the top three among safeties in each event.
Video courtesy of Ben Love.
Deone Bucannon is in Indianapolis preparing to participate in the NFL Combine. Because Bucannon is a defensive back, he won't workout until Tuesday. So while you will see 40-times and bench press numbers start to come in today, you won't find Bucannon's name anywhere on the lists.
But Bucannon can still talk to general managers, scouts and, of course, the media. Bucannon measured in at 6'1, 211-pounds, four pounds lighter than his listed weight this past season. That may indicate that Bucannon is trying to get faster. Bucannon's strengths lie in defending the run and in using his size to punish smaller offensive players, but he may need to reassure scouts of coverage abilities.
In the above video he talks about his love for the game, how former WSU football players Jason David, and the Abdullah brothers are helping him prepare for the NFL, and how players like him and Kam Chancellor still have a place in the NFL.
Thought Deone Bucannon displayed best press technique & jam in one on ones, which surprised considering he's a safety.— Alex Brown (@OS_AlexBrown) January 21, 2014
Deone Bucannon's career as a Washington State football player may be over, but his professional journey is just beginning. He's currently in Mobile, Ala., practicing for the Senior Bowl, an annual showcase of NFL draft hopefuls. The game takes secondary importance, however, to the week preceding it, in which NFL scouts can evaluate the players while they practice and meet with them afterwards.
More after the jump.
From Pullman — Chalk up another award for Washington State safety Deone Bucannon. Today, the Associated Press announced their All-American teams and the WSU senior made First-Team. He becomes the first Cougar to earn AP First-Team All-American honors since running back Jerome Harrison in 2005, and just the second safety to do so (Lamont Thompson also did it in 2001).
Bucannon and the Cougars are on their way to Albuquerque for the Gildan New Mexico Bowl after finishing up a brief practice this morning.
Read about WSU's short morning practice after the jump.
Video courtesy of WSU Athletics
Deone Bucannon has been a force for the Cougars at safety for four years. This season he lead the team in tackles with 109, forced fumbles with three, and his five interceptions are tied with Damante Horton for the team lead. More importantly, in his senior season Bucannon has led the Cougars to their first bowl game in 10 years.
With only one game left in his collegiate career, Bucannon has been piling up the awards and honors recently. Here's a list of the most prominent (bonus points for guessing which is my personal favorite):
- Pre-NFL draft Senior Bowl invite.
- Walter Camp Second Team All-American.
- Athlon Sports First Team All-American.
- First Team All-Pac-12.
- Thorpe Award Semifinalist
- CBS Sports Third Team All-American
Safety Deone Bucannon of Washington State has been named First-Team All-Pac-12, the conference announced on Monday. Bucannon led the Cougars with 109 tackles this season, and tied for the team lead with five interceptions. He is the only WSU football player to be named either First or Second-Team All-Conference, and the first Cougar to receiver First-Team All-Conference honors since Brandon Gibson in 2007.
Earning honorable mention honors for the Cougars were senior kicker Andrew Furney, senior cornerback Damante Horton, freshman wide receiver River Cracraft, and Spokane-native and senior offensive lineman Elliott Bosch.
Follow the jump to see the release from the Pac-12, which includes all players named to both teams, the individual award winners, and the players who earned honorable mention honors for each team.
Video courtesy of WSU athletics
Videos courtesy of WSU Athletics after the jump
FROM LEWISTON — Back in Pullman now, and with our newspaper story filed, we'll pass along some quotes from coach Mike Leach's media session after the Cougars opened camp earlier this afternoon.
(Here's a version of the brief we put together for tomorrow's newspaper)
PULLMAN – Two Washington State football players were named second-team All Pac-12 yesterday.
Junior safety Deone Bucannon and junior kicker Andrew Furney were voted to the second team, though linebacker Travis Long, who is fifth in the conference with 9.5 sacks, was somewhat surprisingly named only as an honorable mention.
Long joined receiver Brett Bartolone, center Elliott Bosch, linebackers Cyrus Coen and Darryl Monroe, defensive tackle Xavier Cooper, cornerback Daniel Simmons and running back Teondray Caldwell on the honorable mention list.
USC receiver Marqise Lee was named Offensive Player of the Year, and Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton was named Defensive Player of the Year.
Stanford’s David Shaw, who led the Cardinal to a 10-2 record and the Pac-12 North division championship, was named Coach of the Year.
Bucannon is tied for third in the Pac-12 with 8.8 tackles per game and finished the season with four interceptions, two off the conference lead. Furney, who was also named the special teams Pac-12 Player of the Week on Monday, finished the season 14 of 20 on field-goal attempts. His 60-yard field goal was the longest in the Pac-12 this season.
Read on to see the full list of all-conference players.
Here's today's player video, courtesy of WSU athletic communications.
FROM PULLMAN — The Pac-12 announced Tuesday that Washington State safety Deone Bucannon will be suspended for the first half of WSU's game at UNLV on Friday.
Bucannon was flagged for a late hit in the fourth quarter of the Cougars' 24-20 win over Eastern Washington on Saturday. After an incomplete pass, Bucannon appeared to launch himself into EWU receiver Greg Herd, who left the game and didn't return. EWU announced later that Herd suffered a concussion.
(CougCenter has a good look at the hit.)
In a statement released by the conference, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said "this disciplinary action was part of our weekly review of all targeting and unnecessary roughness hits.
“In order to appropriately protect our student-athletes, it is imperative that we monitor and when needed, act in situations where a blow to the head of a defenseless player was flagrant and/or unwarranted, especially in situations where the hit occurred well after the play was over."
As noted in the release, all penalties involving a blow to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent are to be reviewed by the league office, except in cases when the player is ejected from the game.
Bucannon, WSU's most experienced defensive back, will likely be replaced in the lineup by either Tyree Toomer or Anthony Carpenter. Toomer subbed in for him immediately after the hit on Saturday.
Coach Mike Leach said yesterday: "It was a late hit, it was a bad hit and it’s something we don’t tolerate."