- 2013 Illinois Pro Day: Representatives from 27 NFL teams gathered at Illinois' pro day, where 15 players worked out. Michael Buchanan, DE - Kept his numbers from the combine, but weighed 247 at the pro day. He worked out with his hand in the ground as a defensive end. - Gil Brandt, NFL.com
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Last season Whitney Mercilus received most of the attention on the Illinois' defense (and rightfully so]), but opposite the 2012 first round pick was perhaps another future top-32 selection in Buchanan. He finished fourth in the conference last season with 7.5 sacks at the "Bandit" position, and is expected to move to the similar "Leo" pass rusher position in 2012.
Buchanan was a top-50 defensive line recruit out of high school and decided to stay in-state to play for the Illini.
After serving mostly as a true freshman back-up in 2009, he started eight games as a sophomore, recording 40 tackles and a pair of sacks. Buchanan had a breakout, albeit somewhat overlooked, campaign as a junior last season, finishing second on the team with 7.5 sacks and adding 64 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumbles. He earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors in 2011 and appears on just about every pre-season all-conference list.
Buchanan has a tall, long frame and uses his length effectively to keep linemen from his body before ripping past the initial block. He moves well laterally and has the foot athleticism to play in space and close quickly in pursuit. Buchanan doesn't have elite bulk and lacks the body type to add much more muscle and will be labeled by some teams as a hybrid player, but he has the skill-set to lead the conference in sacks as a senior and boost his draft stock.