With the NFL draft fast approaching, it’s time to look at draft prospects that could end up with the Indianapolis Colts. First up is Washington State safety Deone Bucannon.
Bucannon was on my list because he fills a position of need, at safety, and the Colts’ defensive back’s coaches paid him a visit on his pro day. He could very well be wearing the blue and white come the 2014 NFL season.
I did what any NFL fan, looking to break down some tape, would do and looked up Bucannon on YouTube.
I was able to find two games worth of tape, versus USC 2013 and versus Oregon 2013, and here’s what I saw:
(Excuse the quality of my gifs. If they are a little too much to handle, I added the YouTube videos I used at the bottom.)
If you know anything about Bucannon, you know he’s a head hunter. The man can flat out deck people out.
Like he does here
And don’t forget this one
Though, at times, he might be a little too aggressive. He seems to lose focus and recklessly try to lay down a big hit on the ball carrier, while working himself out of the play.
Here’s an example, where it seems like he could have taken a better angle and made the solid play. Instead he attacks the ball carrier trying to make the big hit, not realizing there is an oncoming blocker.
His over eagerness to make the big play makes it possible for the wide receiver to seal him and his teammate off, creating a wide open hole for the ball carrier.
There were several other examples where he seemed to get blocked out of the play a little too easily. Often times by receivers and tight ends such as in the gif shown.
Yes, he does have his struggles, but he’s a pretty solid run defender, from what I saw.
Even though he’s unblocked here, he does a good job of realizing the runner is kicking it to the outside. He adjusts accordingly and makes a stop for negative yards.
However, his willingness in the run game can be a detriment sometimes, as it makes him susceptible to falling for play fakes.
Proven by this example from the USC game. He is supposed to be setting the edge on the quarterback here, but instead, leaves his gap assignment and attacks the running back instead.
It was a well thought up play by the offensive coordinator, but should have been a stop by Bucannon, had he stayed in his role.
I will say that he did learn from his mistakes and was a little more cautious about falling for the fake as the game went on.
Speaking of his ability to read the play, it seemed he was less instinctual and more digest and react. Meaning, he would mostly react after he knew where the play was going, rather than try to predict it.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially considering he was pretty quick to react after he made his read. It also put him in position to be near the ball on almost every play.
But the problem is, he would, more often than not, be near it after a huge gain had already been made.
Of course, being a safety net is, literally, in his job description, so he’s not really doing anything wrong. It was just something I noticed, that would make it so he may never be at an elite level of play as a safety in the NFL.
However, there was an attribute I noticed that would translate very well into the NFL. He never really gave up on a play even when he, seemingly, out of it.
Here is an example of where he took a bad angle on a runner (yet again), but instead of giving up, he spun around, tracked down the ball carrier, forced a fumble and recovered it, in the span of a few seconds.
I have to say that it was a bit tough judging his pass defense. As most of that work was done outside of the frame of view.
However, from what I got, he seemed to have a decent skill set when it came to playing the pass.
Bucannon did his best work when he was playing as either a single high safety or in 2-deep coverage. He did a pretty solid job of choosing the right receiver to target and stuck with them fairly nicely.
This is a skill set the Colts sorely need and Bucannon could bring it to them.
However, when it came to more man coverage type schemes, another talent the Colts want in their safety, he seemed to struggle.
Here’s an instance where he’s matched up against a slot receiver and he gets his face crossed.
Bucannon doesn’t look fluid when trying to change direction and it really shows here. This play could’ve been a much bigger disaster if the pass had been more on target.
Overall, he seemed decent in coverage, but not someone that could be depended on in all situations.
And while he is a pretty good run defender, he struggles with shedding blocks and wrapping up consistently. Though, his tackling can be fixed with the right coaching.
I like his abilities, I just don’t know if he’s the right fit for the Colts. He seems to be a less athletic LaRon Landry, with better ball skills.
Bucannon is better suited to play the strong safety position. And even though the Colts coaching staff seems to be sold on Landry as a free safety, the rest of us aren’t. It would be a much more ideal situation to pick up a natural free safety.
Of course, it was only two games of tape, neither of which displayed the 6 interceptions he accounted for in 2013. So it may not be telling of the whole story.
If the Colts do end up drafting him, there are definitely positives. He would bring a physical, not afraid to bully you, mentality. And though he’s not the fastest player on the field, he’s a physically imposing guy that seems to be above average in zone coverage.
He could end up being a very solid starter for the horseshoe. We’ll just have to wait and see where he ends up, come draft time. Go Colts!
Bucannon vs Oregon:
Bucannon vs USC: