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New Redskins CB Phillip Buchanon Still Has Speed

Posted by Matt Terl on March 29, 2010 – 3:28 pm

The Redskins announced the signing of cornerback Phillip Buchanon today, providing me with another seemingly simple name to misspell. (One L or two? N-O-N or N-A-N?)

Buchanon will be expected to provide valuable depth for a secondary that’s extremely youthful once you get past the two starters. Byron Westbrook, Justin Tryon, Kevin Barnes, Doug Dutch, and Marcus McCauley have combined for a total of thirteen starts between them, and nine of those come from McCauley’s 2007 rookie campaign with the Vikings. Leaving out McCauley — who a fair number of Redskins fans probably never even knew was on the team — the remaining four guys have appeared in any role in just 48 games, much of that on special teams duty.

Buchanon was the 17th pick of the 2002 NFL Draft, going to the Oakland Raiders. Current Redskins general manager Bruce Allen was the Raiders’ personnel guy then, so he has a history with Buchanon, and the Redskins have a history with reclamation projects from the first round of that draft.
Buchanon is just the latest such guy; last year, the team’s big offseason longshot was Mike Williams, who was once the fourth pick in that draft, and their big free agent signing was Albert Haynesworth, the fifteenth pick. Late last year, Levi Jones — the tenth pick in 2002 — signed on to add depth along the offfensive line, but he’s currently an unrestricted free agent.

The Redskins have also had RB T.J. Duckett (18th pick) and CB Mike Rumph (27th pick) on their roster from that draft … and that doesn’t even mention their own 2002 pick, Patrick Ramsey (32nd). The second round is full of Redskins-related guys as well (including Clinton Portis — a teammate of Buchanon’s at Miami — and Ladell Betts), but enough’s enough.

Buchanon’s career started off strong, as both a cornerback and a punt returner, but he’s seen diminished success over the last five years, which he split between three teams. Still, as recently as last season, he was capable of making at least one hugely highlight-worthy play, chasing down all-world Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, punching the ball loose, and tackling Peterson to prevent him from recovering the fumble.

“Watch Phillip Buchanon,” intones FOX color guy Tim Ryan, “comes right from behind, punches it out, and then makes the tackle so that Adrian Peterson can’t go get on the ball and Jason Hunter comes up with the recovery. Huge, huge play by Phillip Buchanon.” If he can still do that this year, I’ll have no trouble remembering that it’s two Ls, N-O-N.

Picture by Daniel Mears/The Detroit News, from the Detroit News coverage of that 2009 Week 10 Vikings/Lions game.

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