For a school primarily known for their fast-paced, high scoring offenses, Oregon has been producing decent defensive prospects the past couple years. DeForest Buckner will join former teammate Arik Armstead as Oregon defensive linemen to be selected in the first round in consecutive years. Buckner has enjoyed a great career in Eugene. After a tremendous senior campaign, he became only the second Oregon Duck since 1983 to be named the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Name: DeForest Buckner
Projection: Top 15
Comparison: Arik Armstead
- Quick first step
- Run defense
- Making plays at the line of scrimmage
- Effort – doesn’t give up on plays
- Struggles against fast QBs
I really don’t see any glaring weaknesses in Buckner’s game, he’s a very well-rounded player who looks like a safe pick at the next level. His decision to return to school paid off, literally, as he had a monster senior season with 9.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss. Prior to this season I’ve noticed Buckner having difficulty getting in the backfield at times, but he improved on that vastly this year as the numbers would indicate.
What jumps out at you about Buckner is his size. At 6’7” and just eclipsing 300 pounds, he bring an immovable force up front on a defensive line. He is without a doubt best suited as a 3-4 end, but could lineup in the middle of a four man front. Buckner brings tremendous strength along with his size. Sometimes he relies too much on his strength, however, his pass rushing repertoire needs some polishing.
I love what I see from Buckner in run defense. He does a great job at disengaging blockers while simultaneously swallowing up the ball carrier. He’ll use only one arm at times, but he has the strength to complete the one-armed tackle, but that won’t work at the next level. Buckner has arguably the quickest first step of any defensive linemen in the draft. He’s great at the line of scrimmage and sets the tone in the trenches.
Buckner never gives up on a play and plays with a high motor. He’s going to make it in the NFL for sure. He’s not the flashiest, but he’s a strong, sturdy player. He may not be a perennial Pro Bowler, but he’ll be a solid player up front that a defense can build around. For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus ranks Buckner as a top 5 prospect. I see Buckner in the top 15 range, but he could easily slip into the top 10 and quite possibly the top 5.