Here’s what national and regional media are saying about the NFL Draft and NFC West picks:
“You look at his resume, his stats, his height, weight and speed versus any other safety in this draft … and we wondered all along why he wasn’t talked about along with some of those other top players,” (Cardinals GM Steve) Keim said.
Not really a poor pick here, but an early one. Bucannon almost certainly would have been around into Friday, so the Cardinals may wonder down the road if they could have addressed another need here — like the offensive line — and then circled back on Bucannon in Round 2.
The Cardinals could have gone with a quarterback with the 27th overall pick on Thursday, but instead of drafting Carson Palmer‘s eventual replacement, Arizona decided to bolster its secondary by taking Deone Bucannon.
Bucannon is known as being one of the faster, rangier safeties coming into the NFL. At 6’1 and 211 pounds, Bucannon is also big enough to come up in run support and lay the wood to a ball carrier. Everybody in the Pac-12 is quite aware of Bucannon’s prowess, as he was named a first-team All-and first-team Pac-12 selection last season.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
(Jimmie) Ward’s addition is the latest, needed step in the secondary’s overhaul this offseason, seeing how Rogers and fellow starting cornerback Tarell Brown joined the Raiders in free agency.
Not only will Ward help the 49ers in the secondary, but he could help them on special teams too. The first-team All-American set Northern Illinois’ career-record for blocked punts with four during his four years at the school.
In Super Bowl XLVIII, Seattle’s Kam Chancellor re-established the value of the safety who could play in lurk (midfield) coverage against slot receivers and tight ends, adding an important element to a team’s overall defensive concepts. Ward has already done a lot of lurking, and he’ll be a great asset when the 49ers move to their nickel and dime coverages, because he covers so much ground, and in so many different ways.
My take: Stunned. Ward is a fine player, but considered by some as a second-round pick. The 49ers have now taken safeties in the first round of the past two drafts. … Ward could see some time in nickel packages as the 49ers are somewhat weak at cornerback.
ST. LOUIS RAMS
The St. Louis Rams‘ ground attack just got a shot in the arm.
With the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Rams selected Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson. They followed up the Robinson pick by staying focused on getting bigger up front. Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald went off the board to St. Louis at No. 13.
General manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher took full advantage, nabbing the best offensive lineman in the draft in Greg Robinson and the top defensive tackle in Pitt’s Aaron Donald. Robinson’s dimensions and dominance as a run blocker have earned comparisons to former Rams lineman Orlando Pace. Donald has been likened to Hall of Famer John Randle and joins star rusher Robert Quinn, developing tackle Michael Brockers and the steady Chris Long to give St. Louis the league’s most imposing defensive line.
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