Chicago Bears First-Round Prospect: Oregon DE DeForest Buckner

A detailed scouting report on Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner, a player with Top 10 talent who may fall to the Chicago Bears in the first round.

The Chicago Bears have filled needs on the defensive side of the ball through free agency but there are still a few holes to be plugged. The big one is a solid pass rusher that can create havoc in the backfield. 

In a draft class loaded with pass rushers, the Bears might opt out of selecting one at No. 11 overall. But if they decide there’s a can't-miss pass-rushing talent still on the board, the option to take one would be intriguing. 

Enter DeForest Buckner.

I broke down some film on the Oregon standout lineman to see if he’s a good fit for the Bears in the first round. 

DeForest Buckner, Oregon (6-7, 291) Senior, Age: 24

Accomplishments

After returning for his senior season at Oregon, Buckner was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year as well as being named a First-Team All-American by USA TODAY. In his four seasons, Bucker appeared in every contest with the Ducks and started in 38 games for the program. 

He finished third or better in tackles among all defensive lineman in his four seasons in Eugene. Buckner led the Pac-12 in sacks in 2014, then returned to Oregon and led the conference with 10 sacks in his senior season. He also finished fourth with 17 tackles for loss in 2015. 

Combine results

40-yard dash: 5.05
20-yard shuttle: 4.47  
3-cone drill: 7.51
Bench press: Did not participate
Vertical jump: 32 inches
Broad jump: 9-8

Positives

-Quick off the snap with the ability to get into the backfield in a hurry.
-Size compares to former Bears lineman Julius Peppers and former No. 1 overall pick Mario Williams.
-Long arms help him use his technique to blow past blockers and make tackles. Excellent tackler for a defensive lineman, with stats to prove so in college.
-Able to play on either side of the line due to his ability to flip hips and shoulders. Can get off the edge quick.
-Played inside as well. A good run stuffer, able to make plays or create opportunities for teammates to make plays.
-Saw double-teams and chips, fought through them rather than having a negative mentality about facing the double-team.
-His power allows him to go through blockers and move them like it’s nothing. 
-He’s good in pursuit. His chase-down skills are among the best in the draft among linemen.

    Negatives

    -While Buckner is great at stopping the run, his pass-rushing skills need a little tuning. The improvement can be made with coaching and working on his technique a little more.
    -Speaking of technique, Buckner gets caught standing up too much. He was at his worst when he wasn’t fully bending into position. Fixing that technique and getting lower will certainly help.
    -While Buckner is good in pursuit, sometimes he mistimes his hits when approaching the ball carrier. 
    -If used as an defensive end in the 3-4 defense, there is some work to be done right away. Struggles with the ability to stop and change his direction on the fly. 

    Is Buckner worth the 11th overall pick in the draft?

    Many consider Buckner a can't-miss talent and a player who could be selected in the top 10.  His playmaking ability inside is something the Bears could use on their defensive line.

    If Buckner falls to No. 11, the Bears could take Buckner to fill a hole that still exists, even after the recent free-agent additions. Buckner could turn out to be a very good player in this league, drawing comparisons to Peppers, Williams and even Darnell Dockett. 

    The thing I love about Buckner is his ability to get into the backfield and wreck havoc on opposing offenses. That’s the playmaking type of player the Bears haven’t had in a few years. It’s something that could instantly make this defense that much better. Buckner would be an ideal 5-technique player in Chicago's defense and would give Vic Fangio the Justin Smith-type player he had in San Francisco.

    While he needs work in some areas, Buckner’s overall game is worth it at No. 11. The only question is if he actually falls that far. With a few teams ahead of the Bears having different needs, it could come down to how many quarterbacks go in the Top 10, pushing down defensive players.

    If he's there, the Bears could land a steal in Buckner.


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