He was a safety even though he wasn’t a safety, and that’s how he was recognized.
The Pro Football Writers of America came out with it’s all-Rookie team for 2014, and Deone Bucannon was named — along with Green Bay’s Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix — as one of the safeties on the team. Bucannon had 75 tackles, a couple of sacks and a fumble recovery this season. Obviously, as has been well-documented, Bucannon played almost every defensive snap he had this season as a linebacker in the nickel defense.
He’ll be at safety sooner rather than later. That’s what he believes, and that’s the intent for the Cardinals. His role this season was a perfect example of what defensive coordinator Todd Bowles (soon-to-be-head-coach of the Jets, perhaps?) did to use the personnel he had at his disposal. The Cards did not have an obvious replacement for suspended linebacker Daryl Washington in that sub-package (Larry Foote took Karlos Dansby’s place) and with safeties like Rashad Johnson, Tony Jefferson and Tyrann Mathieu also available, Bucannon became the choice to be Washington’s 2014 stand-in. Because so many teams use multiple receiver sets, Bucannon was on the field more than he was not with the Cards often in their nickel look.
Once the Cardinals recalibrate their linebacker position, Bucannon should slide back to safety (and it’ll also be interesting, if Bowles leaves and there is a different defensive coordinator, how the new guy works his nickel defense anyway.) Regardless, General Manager Steve Keim looks like his draft day move to trade down seven spots worked out well, with the Cardinals still able to draft Bucannon (and passing on a chance at Clinton-Dix) and picking up the extra draft pick that turned into wide receiver John Brown.
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