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The NFL's best inside linebackers, No. 7: Deone Bucannon

Bucannon, a money backer, is changing the position and the league. 

After getting drafted by the Cardinals as a safety out of Washington State in 2014, Bucannon was moved into the box by then-defensive-coordinator Todd Bowles. He didn't just go 0 to 100 there, he went 0 to 995, playing that many snaps in 2015, his second NFL season. He attacks running gaps like a natural but can also make plays on the perimeter when needed. And when he gets to a ball carrier, he doesn't fail. He finished with 127 tackles on the season and did not miss a single tackle attempt in the final three games of the year, including the playoffs. His best game came against the Eagles and their fast-paced attack, when he showed off his versatility in becoming the only player last year to record 10 tackles and tally a pick-six in the same game. This off-season, he's bulked up from 208 pounds to 220, which should help him continue to excel. By creating a new position for Bucannon—$ILB, or money backer—the Cards have allowed him to change the league. Just this off-season, the Seahawks, Redskins, and Falcons all brought in players they hope will fill a similar role. But it's yet to be proven if Bucannon’s success can be replicated.

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