The San Francisco 49ers pass rush has been up and down all season, but one consistent player has been DeForest Buckner. He is not getting sacks at a notable level, but he is consistently bringing pressure. Pro Football Focus recorded him as having five pressures on Sunday, bringing his total to 30. He ranked second on the 49ers in PFF grading for Week 6.
The most productive pass rushers from the interior so far in 2017 pic.twitter.com/WxRK8EQ8nY— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 16, 2017
Buckner is behind only Aaron Donald on that list, and that is factoring in Donald missing the first game at the end of his preseason holdout. Donald is the best defensive lineman in the NFL at this point, and will be getting an All Pro and Pro Bowl nod this season.
Donald is generally recognized as the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL, and depending on your opinion of J.J. Watt, the best defensive lineman regardless of inside or outside. Buckner on the other hand is breaking out in his second year but is not piling up big numbers to jump on some folks’ radars.
In his first three seasons, Donald had sack totals of 9.0, 11.0, and 8.0. Buckner had 6.0 last season, and has 1.5 this season. Sacks are valuable, but also a vanity metric in some ways. We saw it with Dana Stubblefield’s huge sack season for the 49ers that happened in large part because offenses had to game plan against Bryant Young.
That’s not to compare Buckner to BY yet, but I am curious to see what kind of recognition Buckner gets when this season ends. All Pro is not an easy award, but with players and coaches getting some influence in Pro Bowl berths, I would be surprised if he did not end up getting a Pro Bowl nod this year. Do you see some well-deserved recognition coming Buckner’s way?