a blog by La Kifo
Here is a highly sought after defensive linemen from the University of Oregon. 6'7 287 lbs, he is freakishly tall and strong.
I don't like defensive linemen out of Oregon. The league is ripe with Oregon Busts, a lot of which have been waiting for a team to call. To me blindly, he is the complete opposite of a guy at the same position, from the same school, who was drafted in top 10 a few years ago. Dion Jordan. He was awful, an absolute bust. Skinny, lengthy pass rush specialist who couldn't rush the passer. Buckner is a huge mammoth. His strength is apparent as he pushes linemen into the backfield routinely. The first thing that I noticed about his game is it lacks awareness. He's not a smart football player. In the first two games I watched, he was pushing himself out of the play. Other times he would not recognize a down blocking linemen to come in and smash his ass to the turf. Very alarming for a defensive end, a player that needs to be smart and athletic. That's another thing, his athleticism as much as people want to talk about it, does not show up on the football field. He rarely separates quick, when he does it is because the linemen are allowing him to since they have other players, TEs RBs right there to double team/protect. The last thing that really concerns me about this prospect is he can't tackle. I have seen him miss numerous tackles, for not wrapping up, not breaking down, leaving his feet to early. Every reason in the book.
Where he does have value is in a 3-4 defense (3-4 defense, 3 down lineman, 4 linebackers. Buckner has the skills and strength to play any of the three down lineman positions in the 3-4. Putting the Oregon Duck at nose tackle would halt any inside runs that the opposing offense attempts. That's another thing, I do not like his pass rush ability, I see him more as a run specialist. Down the road of Buckner's career, I can't see him becoming a dominant pass rusher. He is too slow off the line, and honestly his size at 6'7 gives him limited rushing skills. By that I mean, he is so tall that he can only bull rush and swim move lineman. I am yet to see him use a spin move, and like I said he is too tall to be pulling off rips moves against shorter lineman.
A lot of teams and pundits have ranked him highly. I like Buckner but I think he has the best chance to be a bust. I also have him ranked under Joey Bosa. Teams that will likely take Buckner would be Dallas at 4, Jacksonville at 5, Baltimore at 6, and Cleveland at 8. That gauntlet of teams all need help on their defensive lines. At least two of those teams run a 3-4 and can place him in his naturally best position.
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