Washington Redskins: Deone Bucannon

I'm taking a look at selected players leading up to the NFL draft, which begins May 8. The reports are based on watching multiple games on draftbreakdown.com; I'll let you know when there is an opinion other than my own. I'm not a fan of having to only watch them off a TV feed -- you don't always get the best angle, or see all the players -- but it's the best I can do now and it helps provide a snapshot. The draft analysts -- especially those from ESPN.com, NFL.com and CBSSports.com -- help fill in the gap, especially in terms of where they are projected.

Player: Ra'Shede Hageman

[+] EnlargeRa'Shede Hageman
Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY SportsRa'Shede Hageman is projected to be a late first-round pick, and could slip to the Redskins at No. 34.
College: Minnesota

Position: Defensive line

College production: Third-team All-American this past season. He had 13 tackles for loss and eight batted passes in earning team MVP honors in 2013.

How he'd fit: As a versatile lineman, capable of playing end in a 3-4 and rushing inside in a nickel package. The Redskins could have four defensive linemen 30 or older when the season begins. It would be good to get a little more youth. Even though they signed Jason Hatcher to help the interior rush, they still need more help/depth in this area. Hageman likely will work best in a one-gap scheme, which the Redskins might use more of this season.

What I liked: He makes some plays that definitely whet the appetite, so there is definite potential with him. The skills are evident and, if developed, he could be a definite presence as an interior rusher. He definitely looks the part -- and then some. I saw him drive a Wisconsin guard back in a short-yardage situation, reach over and help make the stop with one arm, displaying his power. On another play, he drilled the left guard back, knock him to the ground and then, as Hageman fell on top of the guard, he reached over and made a tackle at the running back's feet for a loss. At times, he displays an excellent initial burst -- with both hands and feet -- and played with good power. He had a couple of batted passes that were impressive. On one, as he ran a stunt to his right, he continued to drive the guard back while jumping and deflecting the pass. He had consecutive nice plays against Iowa: first, while aligned over center, he used a swim move to get past and record a tackle for a loss. On the next play, he powered his way to the left and made a stop for a 3-yard gain on second-and-long. He has long arms, which are always a good plus for a lineman. He was Athletic enough to have considered playing hoops at Minnesota.

What I didn't: He'll flash, but leaves you wanting more. You'd see a big-time play on one snap and then scratch your head for the next several. I would not use the words "high motor" to describe him. He wasn't horrible, but could have been a lot better. He did not get back into plays once taken out, even when there was an opportunity where he could help. He struggled against double-teams; obviously those can be difficult but he was unable to anchor and would end up sliding back a few yards. He would get too upright and allow himself to be taken out of plays. I did not see any real moves as a pass-rusher, so he would need good coaching in this area. Sometimes drifted as a rusher, perhaps because he didn't seem to have much of a plan while trying to get to the quarterback. I wonder about his instincts locating he ball. If Hageman had been more productive or consistent, he's a top-16 pick based on his ability but he takes a fall because of his inconsistencies.

Projection: Late first. There's a good chance Hageman will be gone when the Redskins select at 34, but most mock drafts I've seen peg him as a very late first-round pick -- 29 to New England seems to be a popular choice. But that also means there's a chance he'll be available considering the Redskins own the second pick in the second round. It's unlikely, but it's not a stretch. Read this to learn more about Hageman's upbringing. He had some issues at Minnesota, but he was also a team captain last season.
I'm taking a look at selected players leading up to the NFL draft, which begins May 8. The reports are based on watching multiple games on draftbreakdown.com; I'll let you know when there is an opinion other than my own. I'm not a fan of having to only watch them off a TV feed -- you don't always get the best angle, or see all the players -- but it's the best I can do now and it helps provide a snapshot. The draft analysts -- especially those from ESPN.com, NFL.com and CBSSports.com -- help fill in the gap, especially in terms of where they are projected.

Player: Jack Mewhort

School: Ohio State

Position: Offensive tackle

College production: Three-year starter; team captain in 2013. Started 39 straight games and played 49 straight overall. Started games at left tackle, right tackle and both guard spots.

How he'd fit: He'd be the right tackle of the future, but to expect him to be a Day 1 starter would be asking a lot. He'll take a little time to develop, depending on the system.

What I liked: He did an excellent job with straight-ahead blocking and when he locked on a guy he kept control. At times he'd drive his man off the ball, with an occasional pancake block (as he had versus Wisconsin) thanks to keeping his feet moving. Mewhort played with a good awareness for the most part when it came to handling stunts and line games. I could see him at times blocking one man, yet keeping his eye on the linebacker just in case. When he kept his hands a little tighter, it made a big difference in his blocking. His arm length is ideal for a tackle (34 inches). He's a pretty good, but not great, finisher on his blocks and has a pretty good first step in pass protection, most of the time. Mewhort was a good leader and competitor. He has good strength and the ability to absorb. If playing him at tackle doesn't work, he could slide inside. It may be a better fit, but he has to be tried at tackle first.

What I don't: Mewhort was way too inconsistent with his hands. I stopped the frame one time just to see where his hands were with his man a yard in front of him. Mewhort's hands were below his knees. The result, as happened too often: The defender would get his hand into his chest and drive him back. Mewhort could anchor much of the time, but if that happens in the NFL it'll be trouble. His arm length is negated by inconsistent technique; not just low but sometimes too wide as well. Clemson end Vic Beasley's speed was too much for Mewhort in the Orange Bowl. Beasley beat him with speed to the edge and also crossed him up to get inside and even pushed him back because of the low/slow hands. These will be issues to correct even if he's moved to the right side. It's not as if right tackles face only slow players. When Mewhort tries to get too wide too fast, he gets upright and then loses. There was an occasional lunge as well when dealing with speed. Too often he struggled with second-level blocks, whether because of angles or he didn't get there quick enough. I also saw him fall several times getting to the linebackers.

Projection: Third-fourth round. Mewhort has raw tools to work with, but he also has areas to clean up before he can be counted on as a starter -- which is why this is where he's projected.

Other players examined:

Deone Bucannon

Kyle Van Noy

Jimmie Ward

Morgan Moses

Demarcus Lawrence

Chris Borland

Charles Sims

Cyrus Kouandjio
I'm taking a look at selected players leading up to the NFL draft, which begins May 8. The reports are based on watching multiple games on draftbreakdown.com; I'll let you know when there is an opinion other than my own. I'm not a fan of having to only watch them off a TV feed -- you don't always get the best angle, or see all the players -- but it's the best I can do now and it helps provide a snapshot. The draft analysts -- especially those from ESPN.com, NFL.com and CBSSports.com -- help fill in the gap, especially in terms of where they are projected.

[+] EnlargeDeone Bucannon
Shanna Lockwood/USA TODAY SportsSafety prospect Deone Bucannon has attracted attention with his physical style of play.
Player: Deone Bucannon

School: Washington State

Position: Safety

College production: Led the Pac-12 in tackles and interceptions this past season. All-American this past season after intercepting six passes (he had 15 for his career). Four-year starter; never missed a game. Also was a three-time captain.

How he’d fit: He’d be one of the top four safeties and a player to be groomed for a starting job by 2015. The question is, if he’s better at being an in-the-box safety and if Phillip Thomas is healthy, then you have two young players with similar skills. But Bucannon is impressive and also would help on special teams immediately.

What I liked: He competes and he plays physical. Late in blowouts, you can’t tell the score by the way he plays. He also played a lot of special teams -- both punt and kick coverage. You get the sense that he just likes being on the field. The Redskins could use more of that toughness in the secondary (the starting safeties have that, but they need more). He had some crunching hits in the four games I watched, notably against USC on a running back along the sidelines. He tries to drive through the ballcarrier, too. Bucannon is aggressive taking on lead blockers, be it a pulling guard or a fullback. He comes up aggressive and typically met them behind the line of scrimmage. Bucannon typically shows up at the end of a run, something I love because it speaks to effort and passion. Saw him make one tackle in which he was in the middle of the field near the line of scrimmage when the quarterback, who looked like he was going to run, stopped and threw near the numbers to his left. Bucannon, about 20 yards away, hustled to the ball and helped make a stop after a very short gain. He played all over, not just in the box, but he definitely looks more comfortable closer to the line. However, it’s certainly not out of the question that he can play deeper, though it would require a little more discipline and patience on his part. Bucannon did cover one-on-one at times and did line up in the deep middle and deep half. He will sprint hard to the ball from the deep middle. Bucannon has good speed (4.49 in the 40 at the combine). Saw him drive hard on the ball from the deep half in a couple games, once for an interception and another for a breakup, thanks in part to good reads. Made a nice pick against Stanford in the end zone from the outside half when the corner was suckered. Bucannon had started toward another receiver, then had to turn and sprint to the open target in the end zone. The ball was underthrown, but Bucannon made a nice play and saved his corner’s fanny. Love his name (DAY own). Like his background, too.

What I didn’t: Really, there’s not a lot to dislike about Bucannon. However, there were some missed tackles, more often because he’d come up hard and a little shake would be enough to get past him. It wasn’t egregious. He seemed to get overaggressive at times in the secondary, jumping on a route, and it’s easy to see double moves being an issue at least initially. It is for many players, but teams would try to use his aggressiveness -- and his eye discipline -- against him. Bucannon seemed to do better when he could drive on a ball rather than turn and cover on a crossing pattern or out pattern. It’s not about speed. I think he can improve here and his speed should allow for good range.

Projection: Second round. For the most part he’s considered the fourth-best safety in the draft and one of two who could go in the second round (along with Jimmie Ward). They have different strengths. Bucannon could be a tone-setter for a secondary. He comes from a military family. At 6-foot-1, 211 pounds he has a solid build. Bucannon could help right away, whether as a starter or in a reserve role and most certainly on special teams.

Other players examined:

Kyle Van Noy

Jimmie Ward

Morgan Moses

Demarcus Lawrence

Chris Borland

Charles Sims

Cyrus Kouandjio

Todd McShay high on Jimmie Ward

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
8:00
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The Redskins addressed safety in the offseason. But they also haven’t solved the position for anything more than the short term. Which is why drafting one with their first pick in the second round remains possible.

There’s one player who stands out here in the eyes of ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay: Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward. The top two safeties, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor will be long gone before this pick. McShay said safety Deone Bucannon, projects to a mid-second-round pick, making Ward a better value for Washington.

The 5-foot-11, 193-pound Ward starred for Northern Illinois, intercepting seven passes this past season. He didn’t work out at the scouting combine earlier this offseason because of a foot injury. He played strong safety in college, but analysts have raved about his versatility, in part because of his speed (4.47 in the 40-yard dash at the combine). The Redskins need their safeties to be versatile; the free safety could suddenly have strong safety responsibilities based on an offensive formation or a player going in motion.

“[Ward] has the coverage skills in both zone and man,” McShay said in a conference call with NFL Nation reporters. “But for a smaller safety he’s physical against the run. He’s a ball hawk. He’s a really good player. Not ideal size, but he plays bigger than his size and outside this freak injury he’s dealing with now, he was able to play every game. He’s a good value in the early to mid-second round.”

As for Bucannon, McShay said, “He’s a more physical in-the-box-safety. But he can be a versatile guy and play both spots and cover at least the deep half if not deep third in zone coverage.”

Analyzing McShay mock 4.0: Redskins 

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
12:15
PM ET
The Washington Redskins filled two big holes in free agency -- they hope -- when they landed defensive lineman and pass-rusher Jason Hatcher as well as big-time playmaking receiver DeSean Jackson. Next stop, the draft, where the Redskins don't pick until the second round (34th overall). Several positions would make sense in the second round: right tackle, safety or even inside linebacker.

Todd McShay's fourth mock Insider is now available on ESPN Insider's page and he projects a player to Washington who should make quarterback Robert Griffin III happy.

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