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Falcons sign hybrid LB/S Deone Bucannon

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The versatile defender will attempt to revive his career after bouncing between teams in 2019.

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The Falcons had an open roster spot, and we all just assumed they were waiting to spend some cash on a kicker to compete with Younghoe Koo. Instead, they’ve signed former Cardinal, Buccaneer and Giant Deone Bucannon, adding a versatile defender to a rebuilding unit.

Bucannon was someone we connected to the Falcons back in October when the Bucs cut him, figuring his ability to play safety and linebacker would appeal to Dan Quinn and the team’s interest in him leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft might translate into a signing. It turns out we were on to something, but were a bit early to the party.

It’s way too early to say where Bucannon fits on this defense, but chances are he’ll be competing for a role at linebacker and as a deep safety option, similar to the role Kemal Ishmael filled in his last few seasons in Atlanta. Bucannon offers a little special teams ability—he played 39% of ST snaps in Arizona during his final season in 2018—but chances are this is more about adding versatility and experience with the team expected to start Foye Oluokun and Mykal Walker at linebacker.

Bucannon isn’t the player his former first round pedigree would suggest, and a series of injuries and the slow passage of time have robbed of him of a bit of his high-end athleticism. He’s still a quality tackler and decent enough in coverage to be a nickel option at linebacker if the Falcons aren’t thrilled with their young options, as Will McFadden noted in his writeup.

For now, give Bucannon a warm welcome, and let’s hope he can be at least a solid contributor for the Falcons in 2020.