PRO FOOTBALL | NFL DRAFT

Buchanan looking for next step

2013-04-24T18:00:00Z 2013-04-25T00:44:05Z Buchanan looking for next stepMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
April 24, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

Homewood-Flossmoor graduate Michael Buchanan knows Fighting Illini defensive ends have started a pretty good tradition.

Whitney Merciless was taken 20th overall in the 2012 draft by the Houston Texans and Corey Liuget was taken 18th overall by the San Diego Chargers in the 2011 draft.

Buchanan will not be a first-round pick, but is expected to be picked high, possibly in the second round.

One website, nfldraftscout.com has projected the 6-foot-5 defensive end/linebacker to be a fourth-round pick in today's NFL draft. Another, drafttek.com, has him going to the Chargers in the fifth round as the 145th overall pick.

Buchanan has shown his versatility in both 4-3 and 3-4 defenses, and that could be a plus. He said he is not concerned where a team decides to play him.

"As long as I can play in the NFL, I will do whatever is asked of me," Buchanan said. "I can play either. I am comfortable with my hand on the ground (as a defensive end) or as a stand-up linebacker."

Buchanan made the Big Ten's second team both his junior and senior seasons. As a junior, he had 7 1/2 sacks and 13 tackles-for-loss.

Last year, in a tough season for the Illini, Buchanan had 57 total tackles, including 23 solos. He had 4 1/2 sacks and an interception.

"In the 4-3, I can hold my own as an end and I fit in a 3-4 as a linebacker because I have been used in both positions," Buchanan said. "I think that will be an advantage in that whoever takes me, I can fit into their defensive scheme."

Buchanan participated in both Illinois' pro day and the combine at Indianapolis. He said he is doing his workouts in Champaign.

"Just in case teams want to see me for a workout or one of my teammates," Buchanan said. "I have been kind of lucky to have good coaches, and playing in the Big Ten, I went up against the best offensive lineman every game."

Buchanan said he would play special teams if needed.

"I will do anything to make a team," Buchanan said. "I want to play in the NFL and I have played special teams and offense (in high school)."

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