LIONS INSIDER

Lions host safety Deone Bucannon, who doesn't believe in stereotypes

Posted Apr 2, 2014

Former Washington State safety Deone Bucannon finished his college career with the second-most solo tackles in school history (268) and fourth most tackles overall (348)

Deone Bucannon doesn’t believe in stereotypes. He’s read the analyst of his game and the reports that he’s a better in-the-box strong safety than he is a cover safety.

The former Washington State safety is eager for his chance to prove he’s much more than what the reports peg him to be.

“Those are probably a lot of people who haven’t watched me,” Bucannon told detroitlions.com during a pre-draft visit to Allen Park on Wednesday. “They see my frame (6-1, 211) and think automatically, 'lets throw him in the box.'

“That’s why I’m real thankful for guys like (Seattle safety) Kam Chancellor (6-3, 232), who shows bigger safeties can cover. That’s really opening other people’s eyes. When coaches ask me what I am, I feel I can play both.”

Bucannon certainly opened some eyes with his NFL Scouting Combine workout in February.

He impressed scouts, coaches and front office personnel with a 4.49 40-yard dash, a broad jump of 10 feet 6 inches and a vertical jump of 36.5 inches. He also bench-pressed 225 pounds 19 times.

Bucannon started eight games as a freshman at Washington State and ended up making 48 starts throughout his four-year career. As a senior, he had a Pac-12-leading 114 tackles. He finished his college career with the second-most solo tackles in school history (268) and fourth most tackles overall (348).

“I played a lot more in space than people realize,” he said. “I was out there in space by myself making one-on-one tackles and things like that, more so than in the box. I love being physical… but people don’t want to give me (credit for) both, but that’s what I am.”

People who peg Bucannon as just an in-the-box safety will be surprised to know he had six interceptions in 2013 and 15 over the last four years.

“(In) this day and age you have to be big and have to be able to cover,” Bucannon said. “These running backs are 220 pounds on average, so 195 pounds or 200 pounds isn’t going to cut it. I feel like (Kam Chancellor and Sean Taylor) are the people I look up to and the people that have allowed me to play in this league.”

The Lions will have more defined strong and free safety roles in 2014 with James Ihedigbo playing the strong and Glover Quin the free, but on any given play that can switch based on how the offense lines up. Bucannon knows versatility is key to lasting as an NFL safety.

“What I’ve been told is that it doesn’t really matter what (safety) position you play, you’re playing both regardless,” he said. “They shift the tight end and you roll down and roll back. Offensive coordinators are so good these days. If you can only play one side, you’re not going to last long because they are going to exploit you. There’s really no such thing as a free or strong safety (anymore).”