This May, Deone Bucannon will have the chance to be drafted higher than any Cougar in over a decade. Since running out of eligibility in December following the New Mexico Bowl, Bucannon has been pegged all over the board as far as where he could go in the draft. As usual, he faced some of the bias against players from teams that have been struggling of late when the first evaluations relating to his draft position came out.
But Bucannon helped his case at the NFL Combine a week ago when he turned in arguably the most complete performance of any safety. After showing NFL front office personnel what he can do, draft prognosticators came away impressed as well.
SB Nation's own Matthew Fairburn thinks the most of Bucannon, pegging him at No. 53 overall and going to the Green Bay Packers. Here's what Fairburn has to say about his projected pick:
If Green Bay misses out on the top two safeties in the first round, adding one in the second is imperative. In this scenario, the hard-hitting Bucannon is the best safety on the board. This is slightly early for him, but he would add physicality to the defense.
The Packers are thin at safety; Morgan Burnett would be the senior statesman of the group and will be entering his fifth season in the fall. If Packers select Bucannon here, there's a good chance he could get semi-regular playing time or even start depending on his performance in training camp.
CBS Sports thinks roughly the same of Bucannon, pegging him to be a second or third round draft pick though they aren't specific like Fairburn. One area where CBS is lacking in their evaluation is taking advantage of puns.
Best attribute may be his explosive hitting, as Bucannon at times appears as though he is shot out of a cannon, unloading on runners and receivers crossing the middle and forcing fumbles.
THE DUDE HAS CANNON IN HIS NAME AND YOU DO NOTHING WITH IT? For shame, CBS. They do compare him to Craig Dahl of the 49ers and I'd have a strong opinion of whether that's accurate if I remembered keeping my eye out for Craig Dahl on a single snap during a 49ers game last year.
It's NFL.com that's still selling Bucannon the shortest, listing him as a fourth or fifth round pick. Their report is certainly accurate in their assessment that Bucannon has problems in coverage but they were not swayed to drop their lack of speed criticism even after his blistering 40 time.
Mock drafts are about as inexact a science as it gets so take this all with a huge grain of salt. With that being said, it at least seems like Bucannon has improved his draft standing and has a chance to be taken on the second day of the draft.