The man who many peg as the original “money backer” has flown the coop.
Ex-New York Giants hybrid linebacker Deone Bucannon has agreed to terms with the Atlanta Falcons. The former 1st-round pick was one time lauded as one of the league’s most versatile defenders in all of football early on his career, namely with the Arizona Cardinals.
Bucannon was a mid-season addition to the Giants roster in 2019, and was quickly thrown into the defensive rotation under his former defensive coordinator James Bettcher. Yet, despite his prior success under Bettcher in the Desert, the two struggled to rejuvenate that magic in New York.
Bucannon finished the season with a Pro Football Focus overall grade of just 53.6, the first time he’s graded outside of the 40s in the past three years.
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Giants LB Rotation
Bucannon showed well as a special teams player with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first half of the 2019 season and could have been an intriguing piece for Joe Judge this season in a similar role. However, even if he was brought back, his usage on the defensive side of the ball would have been minimal at best.
Big Blue is set to enter the 2020 season with free-agent signee Blake Martinez and a hopefully healthy Ryan Connelly as their two inside backers in what is expected to be a multi-front defense under new coordinator Patrick Graham.
Connelly shined early in his rookie season with the Giants, accumulating 17 total tackles, one sack and one interception over a two-and-a-half game run as the team’s starter prior to suffering a torn ACL in Week 4. Connelly has recently gone on record stating that he’ll be “ready to go for training camp.”
In terms of Martinez, New York is adding arguably the most productive linebacker in all of football to the middle of their defense. The former Green Bay Packers linebacker has recorded a whopping 443 tackles over the past three seasons, ranking 1st or 2nd yearly in the statistic league-wide over that span.
Numerous Intriguing Pieces
Behind the two projected starters, The G-Men also brought back David Mayo this offseason on a three-year deal following a surprising breakout campaign with the Giants in 2019.
Recording no more than 19 tackles in a single season prior to his arrival in New York, Mayo would go on to post career bests in every statistical category in his inaugural season with Big Blue. That includes collecting 82 tackles on the year, good enough for 2nd-most on the team.
The Giants also added the likes of late-round draft picks TJ Brunson and Cam Brown to the mix. The latter, in particular, is an extremely intriguing potential chess piece for Big Blue. Standing at 6-foot-5-inches and weighing in at nearly 235-pounds, Brown has the frame and the length you would expect from an edge defender. However, he’s also shown the ability to flash in coverage, something the Giants have been desperately seeking. It also doesn’t hurt that he comes to New York with an already built-in hatred for the Dallas Cowboys.
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