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Physical Bucannon leads safeties off board

Thu, May 29, 2014

In an effort to wrap up the 2014 edition of the Reese’s Senior Bowl, Executive Director Phil Savage has put together his “official” review of this year’s draft class on a position-by-position basis. With 20 years of National Football League experience as a coach, scout, personnel director and general manager, his comments will communicate a professional feel to the discussion of these prospects and their quest to make an impact in the NFL.


31 of 32 NFL organizations selected at least one Reese's Senior Bowl prospect this year with a total of 84 being chosen over the draft weekend. Here is a breakdown of each round and the number of prospects selected:           

1 7 7 of 32 22%
2 11 18 of 64 28%
3 19 37 of 100 37%
4 18 55 of 140 39%
5 13 69 of 175 39%
6 9 77 of 215 36%
7 7 84 of 256 33%

 Seven of the ten total deep defenders participating in this year’s Reese’s Senior Bowl were selected in the draft with the remaining three all being inked as free agents afterwards 

 Highest Selected                                                               

To the surprise of some, the Arizona Cardinals moved back from #20 to #27 and chose Washington State’s Deone Bucannon. He is a big, physical tackler who should thrive against the competition of the NFC West.

 Senior Bowl Bump                                                            

The Atlanta Falcons coached the North team in Mobile and Wisconsin’s Dez Southward impressed them enough to become their 3rd round pick (#68 overall). Slated to line up as a safety, he has the flexibility to play corner and should excel on special teams, while he learns the nuances of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s system.

 Immediate Help                                                                

The Baltimore Ravens chose Florida’s Matt Elam in the 1st round a year ago and will now pair him off with Florida State’s Terrence Brooks who became their 3rd round choice (#79 overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft. Brooks has legit straight-line speed and loves contact, so he and Elam together should be able to control the action between the hash-marks.

 Best Value                                                                         

The New England Patriots love versatile prospects and Georgia Tech’s Jemea Thomas was this year’s “Swiss Army Knife” candidate of all the defensive backs in this class. He can line up as a safety, corner or Nickel and should be exceptional on special teams. As a former Yellow Jacket, he literally has a “stinger” that is activated in run support and short-area pass coverage.


Many pundits expected the San Francisco 49ers to move up from their 30th position in the 1st round, but ultimately, they sat tight and selected Northern Illinois’ Jimmie Ward. The native Mobilian recorded 92 tackles and 7 interceptions as an All-MAC performer for the Huskies and he should be able to get on the field right away as a combination 3rd safety or Nickel corner.

 Others of Note                                                                  

Marqueston Huff/Titans and Ahmad Dixon/Cowboys were both drafted on Saturday, while Kenny Ladler/Bills, Isaiah Lewis/Bengals and Craig Loston/Jaguars signed free agent contracts by the end of the weekend.