The 49ers on Thursday made their first pick of the 2016 NFL Draft and selected Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner.
Position: Defensive line
Height: 6 foot 7
Weight: 291 pounds
Selection: First round, No. 7 overall
College career: Buckner was the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, as well as a first-team USA Today All-America and second-team AP All-America. He recorded 83 tackles, 17 for loss, and a Pac-12 leading 10.5 sacks. As a junior, Buckner was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2014 after leading Oregon with 13 tackles for losses.
Scouting report: Buckner has the size, strength, quickness and high motor that the 49ers coveted from this spot. He plays with a lot of effort. His physical skills, upside and technique make Buckner the top interior defensive lineman in the draft, according to Pro Football Focus. “Oregon’s DeForest Buckner is the clear favorite in the class, followed by Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins, but after that, it’s a big mix of unique skills and position fits,” PFF wrote in its draft guide.
How he fits: Coach Chip Kelly and his 49ers defensive line coach, Jerry Azzinaro, recruited Buckner to Oregon before they both left for the Philadelphia Eagles. Physically, Buckner is very similar to the 49ers’ top pick last year, Arik Armstead. But Buckner is a better pass-rusher, a more consistent producer, and should step in and become an immediate impact player in the 49ers’ defense. He is a three-down player, who can stop the run from a three-man line on first and second downs, and rush the passer from inside in nickel situations. Buckner could immediately give the 49ers some spark with their pass rush after the team equaled a franchise-low with just 28 sacks last season.
Next scheduled pick: Second round, No. 37 overall (Friday).