The San Francisco 49ers draft board came together quite nicely on Thursday at the top of the first round. Once the San Diego Chargers selected Joey Bosa and the Dallas Cowboys selected Ezekiel Elliott, it allowed Oregon defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to slip to the 49ers. We don't know exactly what he will do as a pro, but most view him as one of the more NFL-ready prospects on the board.
We've heard draft analysts discussing Buckner and every other prospect, but how about what scouts have to say? Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journel Sentinel runs a pre-draft column every year featuring all sorts of random comments from anonymous scouts. The big one this year was someone saying Eli Apple couldn't cook, lacked life skills, and that was worthy of a red flag. Give someone an anonymous platform, and some stupid stuff comes out of their mouths.
I thought that for each 49ers pick that showed up in McGinn's column, I'd pull out what the scouts had to say. Some of the comments are going to be truthful, while it's possible others are scouts looking to get a guy down to them. Whatever the case, it gives us opinions from people who do this for a living, with slightly greater repercussions than your average draft prognosticator.
"He's a huge, long, really ideal 5-technique (3-4 DE) with advanced hand use," one scout said. "Not a speed off the edge guy but knows how to play." Finished with 232 tackles (36 for loss) and 18 sacks, including 10 ½ in '15. "I think he has enough strength," another scout said. "Is that his main game? No. He's a pretty good athlete, he goes hard, he'll retrace on passes and chase things down. He's got that length (34 3/8-inch arms) that you like." His hands (11 ¾ inches) were the largest of any player at the combine. Improved from 9 to 15 on the Wonderlic. "The kid's very intelligent," a third scout said. "Great family. From a work standpoint and loving the game, he'll do everything he can to succeed. His weight-room numbers (21 reps on the bench press) weren't off the charts but the kid plays very stout." From Waianae, Hawaii. "It's more hype," said a fourth scout. "Truth be told, I watched that (Jack) Conklin kick his (expletive) (Sept. 12). I don't like him for the value where you have to select him."
I checked out Buckner's NFL.com combine profile as well, and there is a comment from an anonymous NFC scout:
"His comp is going to be Calais Campbell or Arik Armstead but I think he's more talented coming out than either one of those guys. He's twice the player Armstead was coming out."