It’s the silver linings at this point. DeForest Buckner was at one point going from his nickname of “DeFo” to “DPOY” (That’s defensive player of the year). Unfortunately, with injuries, defensive miscues and other things, that most likely will not happen in 2018.
But he’s still improving from 2017. In 2016, Buckner had six sacks for the entire season. Last season, he had three sacks. Buckner was credited for a half sack on Monday against the New York Giants, which bring shim to six sacks on the season. He has yet to surpass his 2.5 sack performance in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings, but he’s well on track for a career high performance.
One problem: This is the 49ers pass rush we’re talking about here, and Buckner has gone a few spells without a single sack to his name. The 49ers face enough inconsistent offensive lines the rest of the way that I don’t see how Buckner cannot inflate that sack total. Buckner refused to reveal his goal in 2018 for sacks, so we’ll have to wait until the offseason to see if he’s playing to expectations.
DPOY or no, Buckner has become a centerpiece of the 49ers’ defense and he’s going to be getting a big payday sooner rather than later.