The NFL announced 2018 Pro Bowl rosters on Tuesday, and the San Francisco 49ers had one starter and four alternates. Kyle Juszczyk was voted in as the NFC’s starting fullback. Running back Carlos Hyde, kicker Robbie Gould, and offensive tackles Joe Staley and Trent Brown were listed as alternates.
The 49ers were not going to get many starters or alternates out of this, but DeForest Buckner seems like a snub in this group. I did not expect him to be voted in as a starter, but his work deserved some consideration as an alternate.
The big problem for Buckner is the lack of significant traditional counting stats. He has three sacks and 43 tackles on the season. However, he is among the NFL’s leaders in quarterback pressures for defensive linemen. He is consistently in the backfield getting at quarterbacks, and we regularly see him blowing up run plays against one and two defenders. He does a lot of dirty work that does not end up in the stat sheet. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
As the 49ers add more talent in the secondary and at edge rusher, I expect to see Buckner’s sack total increase. There will be more opportunity for coverage sacks, and more weapons coming at the quarterback means fewer double teams. That should not be the biggest reason he ends up on Pro Bowl rosters, but in a world of basic counting stats, it will help his case.