After months of studying the NFL draft, we'll start our list of "10 perfect Patriots", narrowing down the list of prospects to a select group that we feel would be ideal (and realistic) for the New England Patriots, while adding a few draft-related thoughts:
Player: Deone Bucannon
School: Washington State
Listed height/weight: 6-foot-1, 211 pounds
Scouts Inc. rank: 3rd (scouting profile)
Draft projection: Second round
Why he’s on our list: Bucannon is one of the hardest hitting safeties in this year's draft and was one of the team's 30 in-house visits with out-of-town prospects. He is more of a "box" safety, which the Patriots have gotten away from in recent years, but if the team is planning to play more press man with cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, and have safety Devin McCourty in more of a centerfield-type role, maybe there would be more of a willingness to take on such a player. Bucannon plays with an edge, is productive on special teams, and has been durable and reliable.
A feel for the safety class: Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said this week he doesn't view it as a strong group, as it falls off considerably into the third round. Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Louisville's Calvin Pryor are viewed as the safeties who will be picked in the first round.
Recommended link: Camryn Irwin of Washington State's official website writes on Bucannon growing up in a military family. "We were a by-the-book kind of family,” Bucannon said. “You abide by the rules. We had three key values throughout my family, they were to never lie, cheat or steal.”
Key stat: A four-year starter who played in every game in his college career.
Workout stat: Was among the top safeties in the 40-yard dash (4.49), bench press (19 reps), vertical jump (36.5), broad jump (125.0) and 3-cone drill (6.96).
Draft strategy: Bucannon will likely fall somewhere between the team's first-rounder (29th) and second-rounder (62), so if the Patriots truly are interested, a trade-back scenario into the early to mid second round would probably be the most likely scenario in which he lands in New England.