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Robert Saleh: ‘DeForest [Buckner] is dominating.’

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The 49ers defensive coordinator loves what DeForest Buckner is doing, and where he’s headed.

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers pass rush has struggled to gain consistency, but one player who has been a regular in getting into the backfield is second-year defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. Per Pro Football Focus, he currently leads all interior defenders with 16 quarterback pressures, made up of six QB hits and ten hurries. Additionally, he ranks third in pass rush grade and pass rush productivity rating among defensive tackles.

Of course, he also has zero sacks through three games. He has been getting pressure regularly, but it has been a step short. On Thursday, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was asked if Buckner is exempt from the questions about the 49ers pass rush struggles. Saleh was effusive in his praise of Buckner, saying he thinks the flood gates will open soon in terms of sacks.

“DeForest is dominating. And those sacks are going to come in bunches for him. I know he hasn’t gotten the sacks yet, but if he keeps doing what he’s doing and he keeps operating the way he is, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to flood the gates open. My comparison would be [Atlanta Falcons LB] Vic Beasley. And I know they are two completely different people, but Vic Beasley through four games last year, so 16, 20 games if you include his rookie year, wasn’t getting much production on the quarterback, but you could feel some of his presence and then the last whatever number games he just opened the flood gates with sacks. I think [Oakland Raiders DE] Khalil Mack had three his rookie year. You’re getting to the quarterback, but you’re a step short. He’s going to find that step. There’s no doubt he’s going to find that step if he keeps working and the doors will just blow wide open and it’ll also give an opportunity to the people around him.”

Fingers crossed we start to see it this weekend with Carson Palmer.