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DeForest Buckner – Defensive Weapon of Force

DeForest Buckner was a four-star recruit coming out of Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was a two-sport athlete (basketball) and contemplated about playing it at the next level. Buckner decided to play the other game he loved: football for the University of Oregon.

He played in all 13 games (started two games) as a true Freshmen and finished with 29 tackles and 1 sack. In his Sophomore campaign, he started eight of thirteen games and racked up 39 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Buckner was propelled on a national stage in his Junior year; compiling 81 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 4 sacks.

His Senior year was out of this world. Buckner finished with 83 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. Deforest would go on to win the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He led the Pac-12 in sacks and was forth in tackles for loss.

Buckner‘s pass rush ability is out of this world for a guy of his stature (6’7″, 290 lbs). His strength is in his bull rush as a 3-4 defensive end. His run stopping ability is up there with some of the greats as well. His 36 stops against the run in 2015 was 4th among all 3-4 defensive ends, while his run stop percentage ranked 5th.

DeForest is a moveable weapon across the defensive line and is very scheme versatile. He’s a supreme disruptive force. He is a brute force at the line of scrimmage. Buckner is excellent at the point of attack and has an innate ability to beat his opponents off the line of scrimmage quickly. He’s of a similar mold of Jets’ Muhammad Wilkerson and Eagles’ Fletcher Cox, but he has to hone his technique and bring more consistency to his game.

Although he is a beast, he lacks a burst to finish. Buckner tends to play high after the snap. He’s fast enough to win at the line of scrimmage but won’t run down a scrambling quarterback. He must learn to beat double teams at the next level.

Even with those minor flaws, this young man could grow into a player we’ve never seen before but it will take effort, advanced study habits, and conditioning.

 

Photo credit to the Score via Twitter