Cardinals right in choosing Bucannon

When the Arizona Cardinals chose Deone Bucannon as the No. 27 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, they made an important decision. They obtained a player who works hard and hits harder. If they give him the chance to play when the season begins, he will make an even bigger impact than he has had on some of the opposing offensive players he has leveled over the years.

In the NFC West division the Cardinals need all the help they can get. They finished 10-6 last season, which earned them only third place in the division behind the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. While the Cardinals played well last season, they also have the potential to play very poorly, as evidenced by their 5-11 record in 2012 that landed them in last place.

Bucannon will improve the Arizona team in a few ways. First, the tenacity he brings to the field shows in the way he tackles ball-carriers who try to get past the defensive secondary. The Cardinals were out-tackled by their opponents last season by almost 50, but Bucannon is exceptional when it comes to bringing people to the ground.

The former WSU Cougar safety amassed 384 tackles during his college career. He had 268 solo tackles. Bucannon ranked second in the Pac-12 last season with 114 total tackles. If he is asked to play this season, he will provide the Cardinals’ defense with a wall between the opposing players and the end zone.

Another asset Bucannon will bring to the Arizona team is his ability to nab balls out of the air. The Cardinals valued interceptions last season and finished in a three-way tie for fifth-most in the league.

Their total of 20 should increase this season with Bucannon and fellow safety Rashad Johnson in the backfield. Johnson picked off three passes last season, the most in his career, while Bucannon intercepted six at the college level. 

During his time in college, Bucannon increased his interception total in each of his four seasons. If that is any indication of his future progress, the Cardinals will either see an impressive first year from their first-round draft pick or at least feel comfortable knowing he will improve quickly over time. 

The defense that Bucannon brings will help the Cardinals indirectly on the other side of the ball as well. The Cardinals finished No. 12 last year in total offense, and by improving their defense they will consequently improve their offensive game. The less time the defense spends on the field, the more time the offense has to push the ball down the field and score.

Bucannon will force turnovers frequently, which will give the offense plenty of opportunities to capitalize. The Cardinals were in the middle of the league in terms of scoring last season, so they could use a boost on defense to propel them on offense. 

Bucannon has the potential to do that and much more if the Cardinals give him the rightful chance to play during his first year with the team. As a first-round draft pick, his talent deserves recognition, and the determination he shows on the field should earn him even more attention. The only thing left to do is for the Cardinals to realize what they have in their first-round selection.