- Associated Press - Friday, May 9, 2014

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - The Arizona Cardinals traded down seven spots in the NFL draft to select safety Deone Bucannon of Washington State with the 27th pick overall.

It’s a position of need for the Cardinals, who also had a goal of adding another pick in the draft.

General manager Steve Keim immediately invoked the name of one of the best safeties the Cardinals have known.

“The guy’s a headhunter. He’s extremely physical,” Keim said. “I don’t want to mention him in the same breath as Adrian Wilson but there are some physical similarities and the same type of mentality that we were looking for.”

Bucannon, in a conference call after his selection Thursday night, called it “an honor and a blessing” to be mentioned with Wilson.

“That’s the level I want to be at,” he said.

The Cardinals dealt their No. 20 pick to New Orleans, getting the Saints’ first-round pick and their third-round choice, No. 91 overall.

The selection of the 6-foot-1, 211-pound Bucannon adds a needed component to a defense that was ranked sixth in the NFL last season but had difficulty defending the league’s big tight ends.

“He’s got the length and the speed so he can match up on slot receivers and also tight ends,” coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s an excellent blitzer, great tackler.”

Bucannon had 15 interceptions as a four-year starter, six as a senior, at Washington State.

“In our division you’d better like to hit,” Arians said. “He brings passion. That’s what I loved about him. … He’s going to be a great fit in our locker room. He’s a humble kid that loves to play the game and wants to learn from the best and we’ve got some good guys here to help him and teach him.”

Bucannon broke down with emotion when he got the call from the Cardinals telling him he was their choice.

“I want to show the fans and I want to show the team and most of all I want to show the coaches that this was a great choice,” he said.

Bucannon said he visited about 20 teams and Arizona was “by far” his preferred destination.

He mentioned cornerback Patrick Peterson and safety Tyrann Mathieu as among the reasons and said his abilities would fit the playmaking role the Cardinals want.

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