Arizona Cardinals starting inside linebacker Deone Bucannon has undergone ankle surgery to repair a lingering problem, placing the team's first-round 2017 draft pick into an immediate starting role.
Coach Bruce Arians said after Tuesday's first OTA session that "if everything goes perfect," Bucannon could be ready for the season opener Sept. 10 at Detroit. But Arians said there's always a chance he won't.
Bucannon was selected as a safety in the first round out of Washington State in 2014. The Cardinals soon moved him to inside linebacker because of a need at that position and he's been there since.
Bucannon led the team in tackles each of the last two seasons. He had 127 two seasons ago and 100 last year.
In Bucannon's absence, first-round draft pick Haason Reddick will move into a starting role. Reddick, who rose to stardom at Temple after not fielding a single scholarship offer coming out of high school, was taken by the Cardinals with the 13th overall pick in last month's draft
"It's not intimidating," Reddick told AZCardinals.com about being thrust into the spotlight. "I've got to step up now. I've got to be ready to go out there, make plays and be somebody that the team can count on."
Arians, who was the head coach at Temple from 1983-88, thinks Reddick is up to the challenge.
"We don't have to teach him how to rush the passer. He's learning all about sight lines and reads and all those things it takes to play off the ball," he said.