Everyone seems to acknowledge that covering TE’s was a weakness for the 2013 Cards defense, and by all accounts Deone Bucannon was drafted to mitigate this weakness. He certainly has the character, size, speed, and is a well documented thumper, but is it logical to assume that his strengths translate to defending opposing TE’s in coverage? I’m not so sure, and here is why…
- Jarring hits are entertaining to watch (especially when it’s your team doing the hitting), but they happen after the intended receiver or TE has already caught the ball. Sometimes the timing is perfect and a huge hit breaks up a reception or causes a fumble, but realistically plays like this don’t happen all that often. They happen even less frequently against TE’s who are going to have a size advantage against almost any safety in the league. Big hits are fun to watch, but they don’t necessarily have much impact to the opposing TE’s stat line.
- Stiff hips and big whiffs. Deone’s Youtube highlights show him patrolling the secondary and laying some guys out in convincing fashion, but from the first time I watched any of these videos I thought he looked very stiff. Then I read his scouting reports, and the knocks on Deone are his stiff hips – which sometimes cause him to miss his intended victim entirely. This makes me especially nervous, as NFL TE’s are increasingly fast and agile with great hands. I haven’t read anything that says he excels in coverage - just the hip stiffness and that he sometimes takes bad angles.
Don’t get me wrong, I wish this kid the best, and I’m hoping Deone can shut down opposing TE’s from game 1. I just think it’s crazy to expect that his weaknesses won’t be exposed early and often if he earns the starting role – especially given the strength of the other starters in the secondary.
What do you guys think? Doesn’t anyone else think he looks stiff and worry that he won't excel at covering TE's? Am I worrying for no good reason?