With the NFL Draft just a few days away, we have decided to put out draft profiles for your enjoyment, in case you aren’t familiar with all of these names that will be called on Thursday. We will be covering some of the big names as well as some of the lesser known names that could be called in the first round of the NFL draft. We continue the series with DeForest Buckner. The do it all defensive end from Oregon.
While offensive stars such as Jared Goff and Ezekiel Elliot may be stealing all the hype for the upcoming NFL Draft, the top of the list is not without exceptional defensive players. One of those is none other than former Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner.
Oregon isn’t necessarily one of those teams that is known for its defense, but Buckner was nothing less than a stand-out for the Ducks at defensive-end the past few years. After seeing limited playing time in his first two seasons at Oregon in 2012 and 2013, Buckner broke through during the 2014 season in which he recorded 13 tackles for a loss, garnering him 2nd-team all-Pac-12 honors. Buckner built on that success in 2015, riding his performance all the way to a Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award. Buckner didn’t finish his career in the most glamorous fashion, as the Ducks would wrap up the 2015 campaign by allowing the tied-for largest comeback in bowl game history to lose to TCU 47-41 in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Nonetheless, Buckner enters the draft with a college-career 83 tackles, making him a force to be reckoned with.
Buckner has the killer instinct that every team with an incredibly quick reaction time, always being one of the first to leave the line of scrimmage, and that’s not too shabby considering he weighs nearly 300 pounds. Combine that with his height of 6’7″, and Buckner brings a unique dynamic that can pose a considerable challenge for any offensive line.
Buckner, however, is not without his weaknesses. While he is incredibly quick to react to plays, he not necessarily a fast player. More frequently that he might wish, he has that tendency to get sucked in on the rush, which can lead to a wide open hole for either the running back or quarterback to go through right down the middle of the field. Interestingly too, Buckner has a tendency to only use one arm in tackling, a method that is not nearly as effective when you are playing with grown men in the pros compared to collegiate athletes to say the least.
It’s no secret that Buckner has incredible potential to excel at the professional level. It’s almost a lock for Buckner to be gone within the first 10 picks, but what remains elusive where he will end up. While many teams could benefit from a young defensive end in his prime, there is one NFL squad in the Silicon Valley that has been plagued by the departure of more defensive players than anyone would care to count within the past 12 months.
While the San Francisco 49ers may be in serious need of revamping the roster on both sides of the ball, Buckner would provide incredible relief to a defensive unit that is looking to return to the greatness it once exhibited in seasons as recently as 2013. With the addition of a Chip Kelly who still heavily relies on the style of play from his days as Oregon’s head coach, there is no reason for Trent Baalke to not jump on this advantageous situation and hope that Buckner lives up to the hype.
DeForest Buckner to the San Francisco 49ers, 7th overall pick