Adding depth is a key to putting together a strong team. When you can upgrade your back ups to solid rotational players who have the upside to become starters, then you can build the nucleus of a championship team. That is what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did when they signed Deone Bucannon.
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Drafted in 2014 by the Arizona Cardinals, Bucannon is set to return to the coach who selected him. Current Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach Bruce Arians chose Bucannon in the first round of the 2014 draft, 27th overall. He has the size and speed to compete with slot receivers and the decisiveness to defend against the run. An intuitive player, Bucannon is primed to play a sizable role in the hybrid-safety linebacker position for Todd Bowles’ multi look defense.
In 2014, Bucannon was drafted and set to play safety in Arizona’s defense. During his rookie season, he began as a rotational player but quickly earned a starting position. The former Cardinal produced solid numbers, as he finished his rookie season with 86 total tackles, 69 solo. He also recorded two sacks and two pass deflections. Starting nine of sixteen games, he would begin his career strong.
The following year, Bucannon solidified himself as a rotational safety and filled that role well. Then, Arians asked him to contribute in another role, linebacker. Initially deemed to be “too small to fit the position”, Bucannon proved otherwise. The uptick in snaps and time on the field yielded his best season of his career thus far. He hit 109 total tackles, 90 solo, and displayed his prowess from sideline to sideline. He recorded his first interception and bolstered it with three sacks. His run support saw an increase as well, as he reached a career high of 11 tackles for loss. His ceiling may be a little higher than some had expected.
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2016 and 2017 would not be the same. He suffered an ankle injury in 2016. Subsequently, he required ankle surgery and was placed on injured reserve. This issue resulted in Bucannon only playing 13 games in 2017. Even with missing games in both seasons, Bucannon was still able to surpass 80 tackles each year, as he transitioned fully to linebacker. As a result, Arizona picked up his fifth year option.
The entire Arizona team seemed to struggle last season. Bucannon was no exception. He only played in 13 games with six starts. Bucannon put up his lowest numbers yet, with only 30 solo tackles.
Reunited and it feels so good
Enter the 2019 season. Bucannon is primed to return to the coach who drafted him and the defensive coordinator who started his career. Ready for the change of scenery and having a coaching staff that believes in him, Bucannon is prepared to get himself and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back on track. This acquisition is one that was team friendly and may prove to be pivotal in the new Buccaneers’ defensive scheme. Bucannon may very well resurrect his career in Tampa.
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