Fox Sports: Cardinals’ Mathieu and Bucannon featured on All-Under-25 defense

Aug 18, 2016, 12:00 PM


The Arizona Cardinals possess multiple playmakers on the offensive side of the ball in quarterback Carson Palmer, wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown and running back David Johnson.

But the old saying is “defense wins championships.”

Luckily for Arizona, the Cardinals also have a collection of young playmakers on that side of the ball, who happened to appear on Fox Sports’ Cameron DaSilva’s “All-Under-25” defensive team.

Dollar linebacker Deone Bucannon and do-everything defensive back Tyrann Mathieu appear on DaSilva’s list.

Sometimes, a position switch is all a player needs. Deone Bucannon moved from safety to linebacker, and it has worked wonders for his game. He started all 16 games last season, totaling 112 tackles, one interception and three forced fumbles. Bucannon isn’t like most other linebackers — he’s smaller and faster with great range — but he can do everything the best at his position can do. Bucannon could start a trend of bigger safeties moving to linebacker.

The Cardinals took a flier on the Washington State prospect in the first-round of the 2014 draft and it looks to have paid off. Bucannon dedicated the offseason to bulking up due to his increased role near the line of scrimmage. Having the range of a safety and the body of a linebacker can prove dangerous for any opposing offense. The 23-year-old’s ability adds an entirely new dimension to defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s playbook.

A safety/cornerback hybrid, Tyrann Mathieu is simply a game-changer in the secondary, regardless of where he’s playing. Injuries have hurt his NFL career thus far, but there’s a reason the Cardinals locked him up long-term this offseason: He’s the best at what he does. Mathieu was a candidate to win Defensive Player of the Year last season before getting injured, and if he plays all 16 games this season, he’ll be a contender for the award again.

Mathieu posted career-highs in combined tackles (89) and interceptions (5) last season and makes his living breaking up the big play. Mathieu tied for ninth in the league last season with 17 passes defended, nine more than the next Cardinal.

The Cardinals were the only team to have two representatives on DaSilva’s list.

Arizona Cardinals

Marvin Harrison Jr. poses after getting drafted by the Arizona Cardinals...

Tyler Drake

Marvin Harrison Jr. jerseys: Can Arizona Cardinals finally buy them?

Marvin Harrison Jr. signing his rookie contract simultaneously opened the door for Cardinals fans to secure the wide receiver's jersey.

10 hours ago

Marvin Harrison Jr. catches a pass during Cardinals rookie minicamp...

Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals sign Marvin Harrison Jr. to 4-year contract

The Cardinals signed rookie wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. to a four-year contract that includes a fifth-year option on Thursday.

15 hours ago

BJ Ojulari at OTAs...

Tyler Drake

Growth of Arizona Cardinals’ BJ Ojulari, Garrett Williams on display at OTAs

Second-year pros BJ Ojulari and Garrett Williams could be competing for significant roles for the Arizona Cardinals this offseason.

16 hours ago

Cardinals leadership and mental health awareness discussion...

Tyler Drake

Leading the right way: Cardinals, Jonathan Gannon host high school coaches for panel on uplifting athletes

A handful of Arizona Cardinals made time out of their day to discuss the value of the leadership with local high school coaches on Tuesday.

20 hours ago

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts after the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at L...

Character Counts

Kyler Murray makes championship match of charity chess tournament

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray doesn't mind some chess in his spare time and he elevated that hobby on Wednesday.

1 day ago


Arizona Sports Video

Video: Has Kyler Murray checked all the boxes as an elite NFL QB?

It's a big season for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. Burns & Gambo wonder if all the offseason work the QB's put in will help him take his game to the next level.

2 days ago

Fox Sports: Cardinals’ Mathieu and Bucannon featured on All-Under-25 defense