Sept. 8, 2012; Tempe, AZ, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini Michael Buchanan (99) prior to the game against Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Buchanan: Where Could He Go In The NFL Draft?

Michael Buchanan is awaiting his fate in day 3 of the NFL draft and he, along with many Illini fans are wondering where he will end up. There are still some solid options for the Illinois prospect and would be a late draft steal if he falls to the sixth or seventh round.

Speculation is that teams are nervous of Buchanan’s down year in 2012. Over the offseason before his senior season, Buchanan was involved in an altercation that left him with a broken jaw that was wired shut for a week. Because of this, he went on an all-liquid diet and lost around twenty pounds.

This led to a disappointing senior year for Buchanan and teams are wondering if he can get back to form like the player we all saw in 2011.

Jan 26, 2013; Mobile, AL, USA; Senior Bowl north squad defensive lineman Michael Buchanan of Illinois (99) prior to kickoff of a game against the Senior Bowl south squad at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The general consensus is that Buchanan will be drafted by the Oakland Raiders sometime on Saturday. However, Oakland isn’t the only team that could use his help.

It is true that the Raiders need DL help, but Buchanan would also fit with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chicago Bears.

For Jacksonville, Buchanan would be able to sit behind an aging veteran like Jason Babin while adding bulk. It’d be a nice fit, but not perfect.

The near perfect fit for Buchanan would be the Chicago Bears. First off, Julius Peppers is aging (still great, but aging). The Bears could have him sit behind and learn from Peppers (while adding size) and use him for a minor need until Peppers is gone.

What minor need? Linebacker.

Bachanan could play some linebacker for the Bears in 2013 on the outside. With the loss of Brian Urlacher, the Bears need a linebacker, but not necessarily an inside linebacker. If the Bears drafted Buchanan, they could move Briggs to the middle and plug Buchanan on the outside as a pass rusher.

This doesn’t mean that Oakland, Jacksonville, or Chicago will be chomping at the bit to get Buchanan, although, the fourth round is the likely round that Buchanan will go. Does he go early to the Jags/Raiders or late to the Bears?

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Tags: Chicago Bears Football Illinois Fighting Illini Jacksonville Jaguars Michael Buchanan NFL Draft Oakland Raiders

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