‘Perfectionist’ Deone Bucannon working to pick up the mental aspect of the game

May 24, 2014, 2:04 AM | Updated: 2:04 am

TEMPE, Ariz. — It’s clear the Arizona Cardinals expect a lot of Deone Bucannon, but even they may not expect as much out of him as he does.

“Deone’s only got one problem,” coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s so much of a perfectionist; he’s paralysis by analysis right now because he wants to do everything absolutely perfect.”

Arians said Tyrann Mathieu even went as far as to tell Bucannon to “just play” because no one can be perfect all the time. But that’s easier said than done for someone like Bucannon, who went from a three-star prospect who was not among the top 40 rated players at his position when he left high school to the 27th pick in the first-round when he left Washington State.

“I think any time you’re the number one pick there’s a certain amount of pressure that comes with it, now also you should have all the potential to handle that pressure,” the coach added. “Potential will get you killed sometimes. It’s going out and playing. So much of it’s language. The first month is just learning the language.”

And that’s just it.

While football is always going to be football, there is a significant change when going from college to the NFL — and it’s not just about the speed of the game or the talent of the players around you. The playbooks are bigger and more complex, the responsibilities often greater than what one is used to.

It can be tough to grasp, but that’s not so much of an issue as long as it is picked up at some point over the summer.

“A big mental jump, I feel like, is the biggest thing from college to the NFL,” Bucannon admitted. “But at the same time, if you put in that work and you use the resources that you have you can continue to get better and better each day. I’m not there yet, but I’m going to get there.”

Friday was just the first day in a weekend of rookie camps Bucannon is slated to participate in, and then next week there will be more mini-camps where he’ll be out on the field along with the more experienced players.

“Arguably the best in the league, if you look at it from top to bottom,” he said of his secondary mates. “Tyrann (Mathieu), (Antonio) Cromartie and Patrick Peterson, that alone you could say is the best in the league.”

It’s not only a talented defensive backfield, but also one that is teaching Bucannon a lot.

“Honestly, just the mental stuff. The mental aspect of the game, and focusing on the little things, that’s what they’ve gotten across to me,” he said. “The little things are the big things, and that’s what matters.

“I’m just trying to take as much information I can get and apply it on the field.”

It’s all part of Bucannon’s pursuit of perfection, which would lead him to his goal of having his name mentioned alongside Peterson, Cromartie and Mathieu as part of the league’s best secondary.

A first-team All-Pac-12 selection and first-team All-American as a senior, he is used to having success on the football field, at least on a personal level. He was tied for the Pac-12 lead with six interceptions last year, while also leading the conference with 114 total tackles.

But college accomplishments don’t mean much now that Bucannon is in the NFL competing with and against other NFL players.

“Like I’ve said since the first day, I want to earn the respect of my teammates, earn the respect of my coaches and get out there on the field and showcase my talent and show what I can do for this team,” he said. “That’s all I want to do. I want to help my team as much as possible each and every time I step on the field.

“I just want to make plays for the team and be the best player I can be.”

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.
1 day 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.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, right, and Byron Murphy Jr. (7) celebrate after an NFL foo...
Wills Rice

NFL.com’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.
2 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.
3 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?
3 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.
3 days ago
‘Perfectionist’ Deone Bucannon working to pick up the mental aspect of the game