A year after the 49ers made him their No. 1 pick in the draft, Arik Armstead was on Cloud 9 again Thursday night.
His former Oregon teammate and fellow defensive end, DeForest Buckner, was selected by San Francisco with the No. 7 overall pick. Now Buckner and Armstead are reunited on the ends of the Niners’ defensive front.
“Uh oh they messed up and let me and #DeForestBuckner back together again,” tweeted Armstead minutes after the selection was announced. That was followed with a string of happy, grinning emojis.
And why not? The 49ers needed to add a big dose of talent to their defense in 2016, and Buckner, a 6-foot-7, 291-pounder immediately makes the defensive line much stronger. He was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and was a force both as a pass rusher and run-stopper. He had 10½ sacks and 83 tackles, including 17 for loss.
The 49ers now have a pair of young, 6-foot-7 defensive ends that should help the entire defense put more pressure on NFC West offenses in 2016.
Buckner was a four-year starter for the Ducks, is a versatile athlete (high school basketball standout) and has enormous hands (11¾ inches).
Said Buckner to Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group shortly after being drafted: “My biggest goal is to help turn around the club, allow us to win (a) bunch of games and ultimately the Super Bowl.”
Added Buckner, who joins not only his good friend Armstead but former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly: “I’m probably the happiest guy in the draft right now.”