Pro Football Focus: Cardinals FA Bucannon a ‘buyer beware’ free agent

Feb 13, 2019, 6:24 AM
(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)...
(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

It is safe to say that 2018 was a bit of a struggle for Arizona Cardinals free agent linebacker Deone Bucannon.

It was enough of a struggle for Pro Football Focus’ Austin Gayle to include Bucannon in his top “buyer beware” free agents for the 2019 offseason.

Arizona Cardinals’ Deone Bucannon had a career year playing his hybrid linebacker/safety role in 2015, giving reason to believe the former Washington State first-rounder could be a difference-maker in the NFL for years to come. That simply hasn’t been the case.

Bucannon has failed to come close to his career-high 72.6 overall grade in 2015 in the three seasons following, earning extremely low run-defense and coverage grades in the process. He’s a former first-rounder with a lot of natural ability, but paying him the big bucks in the offseason could prove costly.

After becoming a key piece in the Cardinals’ defense over the past few years, Bucannon became lost in former head coach Steve Wilks’ rotations and schemes.

After playing most of his career in a 3-4 defense, the 26-year-old never could fully pick up Wilks’ 4-2-5 defense.

“I didn’t feel like I got an opportunity to show that I was able to,” Bucannon told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo on Jan. 10. “We were changing my position every other week and it was just kind of thrown off because they expected things to kind of fall into place.”

Bucannon was drafted by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft and had a break out 2015. In his five seasons with the Cardinals, Bucannon recorded 404 tackles, seven sacks, seven forced fumbles and two interceptions.

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters (98) walks out before an NFL game between the Arizo...
Nikash Nath

PFF’s Doug Kyed advises Arizona Cardinals to bring back DL Corey Peters

With the Cardinals' current roster construction, PFF's Doug Kyed believes Arizona should bring DL Corey Peters back once more in 2022.
2 days ago
Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. (77) protects his quarterback during the fi...
Sam Graveline

Cardinals take OT Paris Johnson Jr. in ESPN 2023 NFL mock draft

ESPN's Matt Miller thinks the Cardinals will beef up the offensive line in his first 2023 mock by selecting Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, right, and Byron Murphy Jr. (7) celebrate after an NFL foo...
Wills Rice’s Patra ranks Cardinals’ cornerbacks among weakest rooms in league

The Cardinals enter training camp with a few question marks personnel-wise on the defensive side of the ball, especially at cornerback.
3 days ago
Nick Scott #33 of the Los Angeles Rams tackles Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals after a recep...
Sam Graveline

PFF: Tight end shaping up to be biggest position battle for Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals head into training camp expecting to have healthy competition at a handful of positions, including at tight end.
4 days ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates with fans after beating the Houston Texans 31-5...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals Corner: The timeframe of Kyler Murray’s contract extension

We haven't heard much lately when it comes down to Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and a contract extension. When will a new deal get done?
4 days ago
Markus Golden #44 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts to a defensive play during the first half against...
Nikash Nath

Cardinals LB Markus Golden among players with best team-friendly deals

Arizona Cardinals LB Markus Golden's contract cracked PFF analyst Brad Spielberger's top team-friendly deals ranking.
4 days ago
Pro Football Focus: Cardinals FA Bucannon a ‘buyer beware’ free agent