COUGAR SAFETY DEONE BUCANNON has become the highest WSU player selected in the NFL draft since Marcus Trufant was the No. 11 overall pick in 2003. The Arizona Cardinals moments ago selected the Washington State All-America safety in the first round with the 27th overall pick.
becomes the 13th Cougar to be drafted in the first round since the NFL began the draft in 1936.
Fourteen teams, including Arizona, flew Bucannon in for one-on-one visits after the NFL Combine, where his outstanding performance included a 4.49 time in the 40.
Indeed, of all the safeties tested in Indianapolis, Bucannon finished in the top three in the three-cone shuttle (6.97), vertical jump (36.5 inches), broad jump (10-5), bench press (19 reps) and 40 time.
Bucannon also had an excellent week at the Senior Bowl, and he led the Pac-12 in tackling with 114 stop this past season.
Leading up to the draft, draft pundits had good things to say about Bucannon. Among them:
"Has good instincts and will absolutely light up a ball carrier (legally). Not great in coverage, but doesn't get beat a lot," said ESPN's Mel Kiper.
"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," said CBS Sports' Rob Rang.
"Although he's built like a cornerback, Bucannon's style of play makes it easy to identify him as a tone-setting strong safety," said Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com.
"His greatest strength may be his ability to change the complexion of a game. He's a turnover machine who intercepted 15 passes and forced seven fumbles in four seasons at Washington State," said ESPN's Steve Muench.
"Washington State's Deone Bucannon is the cream of the crop of what is otherwise a weak (strong safety) draft class," said Scout.com's Dave-Te' Thomas.
"Bucannon may have set an unofficial record for noisy collisions during a truly impactful four years (at WSU). Put him on the field and listen for the wind being knocked out of runners and receivers as if hit by a Mike Tyson body punch," said NFLDraftScout's Frank Cooney.
"He's a more physical in-the-box-safety. But he can be a versatile guy and play both spots and cover at least the deep half if not deep third in zone coverage," said ESPN's Todd McShay.
Way back in September, Kiper had this to say: "Deone Bucannon... is a very impressive player for Washington State. He seems to have an NFL future. Tough, good tackler. I like how he plays the game."
Looking back, Kiper was low balling it.
In the final weeks before the draft, Bucannon was pegged as a second- or third-round pick by virtually all of the mainstream media analysts. But NFL teams are known for the smokescreens they put up ahead of the draft on players, and Bucannon was a guy being undersold in their circles as well.
Ourlads was the first credible outlet we saw that projected Bucannon as a first-rounder, about a week ago. And then this morning before the draft, Rang suddenly vaulted Bucannon into his first round projections as well. And that's how it played out.
Apart from Trufant, the next-highest Cougar defensive back drafted in recent years was Karl Paymah, picked by Denver in the third round in 2005.
BUCANNON PICKS ONE OFF VS. OREGON IN 2012.