Well, its finally over. The San Francisco 49ers ended their 2016 campaign 2-14. One of the greatest mysteries in life is how I still root for this team despite my contempt for this organization. Jed’s still here, so its hard to get too excited but Baalke is gone. After the job he has done dismantling this roster his absence leaves a light at the end of the tunnel. And despite what you may think of Chip Kelly he didn’t get a fair shake here. Anyway, on to DeForest Buckner.
His final game against the Seahawks in Week 17 wasn’t his best but he wasn’t terrible either. He ended the game with only one tackle and two assists. He played a lot more at nose tackle this game, which is probably not his best fit.
First quarter 9:06 and here he is at NT. One of the biggest criticisms of DeForest Buckner coming out of college was playing with a high pad level. Something many lineman of his size are faced with. I think It may be one of his biggest improvements as the seasons gone on and you can see it here as he has no problem shedding his block and making the tackle. He’s still going to struggle with it at times, but getting lower has really helped him develop into a better run defender.
My biggest criticism of DeForest Buckner may be his pass rush though. Not that he can’t do it, he’s done an excellent job of it this year, but it lacks some diversity. This probably contributes to his lack of pressure from the NT position as well. The first GIF is 4:09 in the 2nd quarter and and the second is 1:30 in the 2nd Quarter. The swim move is his go to, and it works great when he’s not lined up over the ball. In the first image he’s got the outside leverage and gets by the LG fairly quickly. In the second image DeFo is lined up over the ball and the LG has the outside leverage. Same swim move, different result.
This is 8:20 in the 4th quarter. It’s 3rd and 16 and the pass rush is on. Pre-snap DeFo moves to the left side of the ball, where he has not played much at this year. From here he doesn’t really have the option of the swim move to his right because that’ll force him right back into the center. So he kind of takes an awkward shove at the RG off balance. Its a quick screen left so you don’t really get to see a full on pass rush, but I think it is safe to say it is not his strong side of the defense.
With all that said, I still think DeForest Buckner did a great job with his rookie season. I think his run defense has improved considerably and he’s done a good job creating a pass rush. I don’t think he gets the respect he deserves for as many snaps as he has taken this year. He consistently brings it despite being out there almost every snap on defense.