DeForest Buckner is entering his third season with high expectations. With two seasons under his belt, Buckner has emerged as a dynamic presence. He has not been able to close the deal regularly on sacks, but his teammates and coaches think it’s only a matter of time for him. In fact, they have taken to calling him DPOY, short for Defensive Player of the Year.
Buckner chatted with the media on the first day of training camp, and he acknowledged he has a goal this season for total number of sacks. However, he would not tell the media what the goal was.
“There’s a number, but I’m not going to tell you guys that number.”
Buckner had six sacks as a rookie, but then dropped to three sacks last season. He led defensive interior linemen in quarterback hits, but the hits were coming a split second after the quarterback threw.
The 49ers head into 2018 having not invested heavily in the pass rush this past offseason. They extended edge rusher Cassius Marsh and signed edge rusher Jeremiah Attaochu to a one-year contract. Given that the team declined their option on Elvis Dumervil’s contract, it would seem the team is counting on Buckner, Solomon Thomas, and Arik Armstead to take this pass rush to a new level.
What do you think Buckner’s goal is for the upcoming season? He won’t tell us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t guess. Earlier this year, he said if he had an extra step, “it definitely could have been 19 sacks or something.”
So, maybe his goal is 20? Or is he going for what we might see as a more realistic number in the double digits?