TEMPE, Ariz. -- The pick: Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State.
My take: The Arizona Cardinals addressed an immediate need on defense by drafting a safety. With his height and length, Bucannon can help defend tight ends and tall receivers, which gave the Cardinals’ defense fits last season. He’ll be slotted as a starter and seals a secondary that got deeper this offseason. This could be the piece that Arizona needs to close the gap between itself and both Seattle and San Francisco. Bucannon could be the factor in making the playoffs. He’s a big hitter who will fit right in with a secondary that includes Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Rashad Johnson and Antonio Cromartie.
Veteran experience: As a four-year starter at Washington State, Bucannon comes to Arizona with knowledge and experience that will aid his transition to the starting lineup. He’ll allow the Cardinals to instantly start building off last season, in which their defense finished sixth in the NFL. Bucannon is already being compared to former Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson because of his size and passion for hitting. Another physical defensive back gives Arizona one of the deepest and toughest secondaries in the league, but Bucannon’s collegiate experience will benefit him against the run. At Washington State, he made 222 plays against the run -- 10 percent of which came on third-down plays, another area of concern for the Cardinals in 2013. His 15 interceptions complemented his physical prowess. He allowed just one touchdown during his collegiate career.
What’s next: With Arizona’s biggest need out of the way, the Cardinals can focus on landing a versatile linebacker who can help rush off the edge, an offensive lineman who can solidify the right side and start looking for a quarterback with their two picks in the third round.