DeForest Buckner has been the best player on the San Francisco 49ers through three weeks of play, and isn’t slowing down. He’s not producing sacks, but he’s been a consistent force in pressuring the quarterback and stopping the run. Against the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday Night Football, Buckner had five tackles, two of which were solo run stops.
In addition to that, Buckner had two pressures on Rams quarterback Jared Goff, according to Pro Football Focus. He received an 88.9 overall grade from PFF, good for tops on the 49ers and the Rams both.
The 49ers may not have had the results on defense they wanted, but Buckner was everywhere. Buckner had two stops in run defense, and he also tallied two pressures rushing the quarterback from the inside and was a disruptive force all night. Buckner routinely beat the blocker designated to block him.
That’s what they had to say about Buckner, and I agree with the sentiment. He was a force, and I feel more positively about him than any other player on the roster at this point. He doesn’t have a bright future — he has a bright present.
Here you can see one of his run stops in a very crucial situation. Of course, the 49ers went and allowed a touchdown on the next play, but the way Buckner disengages from his man to stop Todd Gurley from getting the touchdown on this play was absolutely top notch.
The 49ers need to get more production from their edge players and the linebackers, and then they’ll be an elite defense as far as I’m concerned. The safeties are playing well and the cornerbacks, shockingly, are also doing very well overall. Buckner is leading the pack, though.