The 2014 NFL draft is still 10 days away. Before we get there, we'll take a look at a prospect or two in the draft who could be of interest to the St. Louis Rams.
By now, we've covered most of the big names so the focus here will be on vetting some potential additions beyond the top 10 of the draft.
School: Washington State
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 211 pounds
Projected round: 2
Pros: In terms of measureables and production, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who looks and plays the part like Bucannon did in college. His size and build are everything you'd want in a safety. As a four-year starter, Bucannon appeared in every game with no real injury issues of note despite playing a position that leads to a lot of high-impact collisions. Had 15 interceptions and seven forced fumbles in his career demonstrated an ability to create turnovers on a consistent basis. A willing, powerful tackler who is good in run support, Bucannon also has the athleticism and ball skills to make plays on the ball when it's thrown his way.
Cons: Although he's a good athlete, Bucannon isn't a great one, making him an occasional liability in coverage. But his bigger weakness in that regard is a lack of instincts to read plays, react and get to the ball. Often targeted and beaten with play action, pump fakes and other misdirection. Also has been known to get caught peeking into the backfield which allows him to get beat over the top.
Fit with Rams: The Rams are most in need of a rangy centerfield type of safety who can run the alley and provide a solid last line of defense in coverage. Bucannon isn't really the prototype for that role but that doesn't mean he's incapable of handling it. He has enough speed and athleticism to fill that job and his penchant for forcing turnovers offers hope that his ball skills could translate to the NFL. Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams likes to use his safeties interchangeably and if he wants to go that route and mix things up, Bucannon's ability to stop the run and play in the box would complement T.J. McDonald nicely. If the Rams don't go for a first-round safety, Bucannon could be a good albeit imperfect fit for St. Louis.
He said it: Bucannon on how he projects at the next level -- “They see my frame (6-1, 211) and think automatically, 'lets throw him in the box,'" Bucannon told the Lions official website. “That’s why I’m real thankful for guys like (Seattle safety) Kam Chancellor (6-3, 232), who shows bigger safeties can cover. That’s really opening other people’s eyes. When coaches ask me what I am, I feel I can play both.”