Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner is a physical monster with lots of athleticism, but should the Minnesota Vikings try to get him in the 2016 NFL Draft?
When watching Oregon games, it’s easy to recognize defensive end DeForest Buckner. He stands like a monster among the defensive linemen, and is one of the most physically gifted players in the draft. He could be a great players for a team with a 3-4 defense to plug into their system and get a pass rush from the defensive line.
Buckner is excellent using his hands when engaged with a defender to create separation and then uses his hips and feet to get away from the blocker. When he does get to a ball carrier, he is one of the most sure tacklers in the draft, using his mass and twisting body to bring the offensive player to the ground. He also doesn’t give up on plays, playing hard until the whistle.
It’s rare that height can be an issue for a player, but when a low center of gravity and leverage are needed, that can be hard to achieve when you’re as tall as Buckner. It also makes it hard on his knees and sometimes he tries to attack with his shoulder instead of squaring up and attacking an offensive lineman.
Here are Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner’s numbers from the events at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine according to NFL.com:
DeForest Buckner compares to:
- CBS Sports: Calais Campbell, Cardinals
- NFL.com: Calais Campbell, Cardinals
Fit for the Minnesota Vikings:
Buckner would be an odd fit for the Vikings. Odds are they would have to movie him to defensive tackle, where the team is pretty well stocked at the moment. But that doesn’t mean that Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer wouldn’t be able to find an interesting way to use him to get the most out of the pass rushing and tackling talent he possesses.
I know it isn’t going to be popular, but I don’t see the fit. While the talent is there, there isn’t really a logical place to plug him in to the defense. He would be a much better fit for a 3-4 defense to play defensive end and control the edge than he would be as a dedicated pass rusher in a four man front. The Vikings should pass on Buckner in the first round even if he available at #23 overall.