Linebacker Devin White remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and it’s uncertain if he’ll be able to suit up for Saturday’s Wild Card matchup against Washington. At the very least, Bucannon will provide Tampa Bay will some extra depth at the position during practice this week. At the very best, Bucannon could find himself elevated to the roster, with Scott Smith of the team website noting that the veteran is a “candidate” for a promotion.
Bucannon, 28, has plenty of experience with the Buccaneers’ defense, having played five games for the team in 2019 and played four seasons under Bucs head coach BruceArians in Arizona. The linebacker split his 2019 campaign between the Buccaneers and Giants, compiling 28 tackles in 14 games. It’s been a while since Bucannon was a full-time starter, but he averaged 71 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1.5 forced fumbles, and three passes defended in 14.3 games per season between the 2014 and 2017 campaigns.
Leverett was a four-year starter at North Carolina Central University and Rice. He joined the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent back in April, and he landed on their practice squad in September.
The Bears have some veteran linebackers on their radar. They brought in Manti Te’o and Deone Bucannon for workouts on Wednesday, with second-year defender Justin Phillips taking part in the audition as well, per the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter).
While Bucannon has been involved in the 2020 season’s unusual fall workout circuit, this marks Te’o’s first known workout since last season.
Te’o, 29, caught on with the Saints again in 2019, signing in December. He spent parts of three seasons in New Orleans, starting 10 games for the 2017 Saints and playing eight games over the past two seasons. The former Heisman finalist and second-round Chargers pick has made 48 career starts.
A former first-round Cardinals pick, Bucannon played 14 games with the Buccaneers and Giants last season. The former college defensive back made 25 tackles in 2019. The Falcons released him from their practice squad late last month. A 2019 UDFA, Phillips spent last season with the Raiders.
Workout updates stand to be sparser going forward, with Mike Garafolo of NFL.com noting the NFL has moved to, in light of some teams’ recent issues with the coronavirus, cap workouts at five per week (Twitter link). However, the rule will not apply to teams that place more than three players on IR in a week, Garafolo tweets. In those scenarios, teams would be permitted to work out 10 players in a week. That said, here are the top developments from the workout circuit, as of Tuesday evening.
September 8th, 2020 at 1:21pm CST by Zachary Links
The Falcons released former first-round pick Deone Bucannon, per a club announcement. The move frees up a roster spot for the return of defensive end Steven Means, who has been activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Bucannon, 28, signed with the Falcons after spending 2019 with the Buccaneers and Giants. In 14 total games, he saw limited action on defensive snaps. Bucannon was at his best in 2014, his sophomore season as a pro, when he notched 112 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, three sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception for the Cardinals. But, at this stage of his career, he profiles as a fringe player.
Means, 29, missed all of 2019 season with an Achilles injury. His 2020 camp was interrupted by his placement on the COVID-19 list, but he’ll serve as defensive end depth for the team now that he has the medical greenlight. Technically speaking, Means is one of eleven defensive ends on the Falcons’ roster, though the team is constructed to mix-and-match across the front seven.
The Falcons have signed free agent linebacker Deone Bucannon, the club announced today.
Bucannon, 27, will return to the NFC South after spending part of his 2019 season with the Buccaneers. The former first-round pick signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with Tampa Bay last offeason, but only appeared in five games before being cut. Bucannon’s play contributed to his release, but the Bucs also enhanced their compensatory pick selections by parting ways with the veteran linebacker.
After leaving the Buccaneers, Bucannon latched on with the Giants. He appeared in nine games down the stretch, and although he played on just eight defensive snaps, he did contribute on special teams (78 snaps). All told, Bucannon has made 57 career starts since being selected 27th overall by the Cardinals in the 2014 draft.
Atlanta lost linebacker De’Vondre Campbell in free agency, leaving Foyesade Oluokun as the most likely option to start next to Deion Jones. Bucannon, with his experience and ability to play multiple roles, should compete with Oluokun for playing time.