DE DeForest Buckner- Oregon:
- Excellent size for a 3-4 DE, has the length to really disrupt pass lanes if he doesn’t get to the quarterback.
- Got better each season, really had a big year in 2015, and should continue to develop going forward.
- Has long arms and powerful hands that he can use to keep blockers off of him and bring down the ball carrier.
- Really good run defender, really tough to run right at.
- Good first step, especially for his size.
- Has really improved as a pass rusher and should generate good numbers in a 1 gap system.
- Powerful defensive lineman, who should consistently push the pocket even if he doesn’t get free for the sack.
- Probably a better 3-4 player, but talented enough to play in any scheme.
- Will play too tall at times, needs to play with more consistent leverage at the NFL level.
- Still more raw, than refined at this point. Might take a year to get himself playing at a high level.
- Was pass rush production in 2015 a growth trend or a flash in the pan is a huge determining question for teams.
Buckner has been on NFL draft radar the past couple of years, but his breakout 2015 campaign shot him to the top of many draft boards. He now looks like a more consistent/complete player and well worth a top 10 pick investment.
Though he can play in any scheme, Buckner’s profile fits best in a one gap 3-4 system that will allow him to play more 5-tech than a 3-4 system. Buckner’s length and power could give offensive tackles more problems than interior linemen. Buckner is already an excellent run defender and last season he really improved as a pass rusher to make him a complete player.
Buckner is still developing as a pass rusher, but if what he showed on the field in 2015 wasn’t a fluke, the future is bright in this area for Buckner. He probably won’t reach J.J. Watt level of effectiveness, but he can become a very good 3-4 DE and a building block on defense.