DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
6’6 287 lbs
Prototype height, weight, speed combination for a defensive end. Has scheme versatility as a 4-3 or 3-4 end but his best pro fit looks to be the 4-3 due to his difficulty with handling the power of inside guards in the run game.
Does a great job of engaging and disengaging from blocks. Probably has the best arm extension and hand usage of any prospect in this draft. Has ideal athleticism for the position and plays with high effort.
Had some serious struggles against Michigan State’s Jack Conklin and seems to thrive against weaker opponents, where he racks up his numbers. Possesses a strong bull rush if he wins at the point of attack, pushing lineman back into the pocket.
Must improve transferring speed to power and bending around the edge if he will be a viable edge rusher in the NFL, but has all the physical tools and is begging to be coached.
Technique: 3 out of 5
Buckner has two moves, swim and bull rush. He uses both effectively and usually in the right situations. He also does a great job using his arm length to keep opponents from getting into his body.
Effectiveness: 4 out of 5
Buckner was among the NCAA leaders in pressures, hits and sacks, though it can be argued that it came against the weaker teams in the Pac-10, he still had a standout year rushing the passer.
Potential: 3 out of 5
Because of his struggles against superior opponents, particularly Michigan State’s Jack Conklin, I fear for Buckner’s viability as a pass rusher on the edge. He could potentially be effective rushing inside with his hand usage and size, but he must learn to transfer speed to power or he’ll be stonewalled by the NFL’s better interior lineman.
Technique: 3 out of 5
He can be easily fooled by misdirection and is a little over-eager to make an explosive play rather than remaining disciplined in his gap, this is also the reason he was a leader in tackles for loss in 2015.
Effectiveness: 5 out of 5
He had over 80 tackles from the 5 technique. That’s impressive in and of itself, couple that with the tackles for loss number, 17, and you understand why he’s such a highly thought-of recruit.
Potential: 4 out of 5
Though he didn’t get to do it much, I think he could anchor a line in a 4-3 as a very good edge setter. He has the size and strength to take on even the toughest tackles in the league and elite disengaging ability with efficient use of his hands and feet at the same time.
TOTAL PROSPECT RATING: 22/30
NFL Comparison: Carlos Dunlap, DE, Cincinnati Bengals
As a rotational starter at defensive end for the Bengals, Dunlap offers the size and strength, coupled with an elite bull rush to anchor the defensive line and get after the quarterback at times. Like Buckner, Dunlap uses arm extension to effectively disengage from blockers to make plays in the run game and stay effective as a pass rusher.
Projection: Top 10 pick