Sakamoto: 49ers’ Draft DE DeForest Buckner With 7th Pick In 1st Round


Numerous rumors were swirling around Levi’s Stadium and in the media as to what direction the San Francisco 49ers would go in just hours before the 2016 NFL Draft. Late last night, many NFL analysts including Mike Mayock believed that the San Diego Chargers would kickoff the first surprise pick of the draft, with the selection of Notre Dame T Ronnie Stanley over Ole Miss LT Laremy Tunsil.

Then rumors surfaced that the Chargers would not take Stanley but instead draft the 49ers likely target DE DeForest Buckner, prompting Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network to change his selection last second along with ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper.

Well, the San Diego Chargers made their pick and it wasn’t Stanley nor Buckner but DE/OLB Joey Bosa from Ohio State. Talk about a smoke-screen! That had a ripple effect on what was left for the 49ers at No. 7, as the 49ers selected an Oregon Duck in the first-round for the second consecutive year. Welcome Buckner.

A head scratcher to some considering that higher rated Ole Miss LT Laremy Tunsil was still on the board all while filling a bigger need, 49ers GM Trent Baalke felt that adding a cornerstone defensive end was far more important despite investing last year’s first-round pick on the same exact position.

Not to mention, a viral youtube video surfaced of Tunsil smoking a bong via a gas mask right before the draft took place, it’s no wonder that Baalke and his scouting department decided to turn the other cheek. Something I envisioned if the 49ers stayed true to their board at No. 7, I had an itch that Buckner would be their guy when it was all said and done.

At 6-7, 291, Buckner has the frame that Baalke covets in his four-technique defensive end. A highly productive player who can not only set the edge in the run game but kick inside as the team’s three-technique pass-rusher, Buckner checks all the boxes, as Baalke goes back to his first-round formula of selecting players of similar positions in consecutive drafts. [FS Eric Reid (2013) & DB Jimmie Ward (2014)]

But you’re probably asking yourself, is there a log-jam at defensive end now that Buckner is in play? I don’t think so. Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted there is no guarantee that NT Ian Williams starts the season due to his ankle surgery, so by default that automatically puts Buckner as the opposite starter to second-year DE Arik Armstead. I say that because that would then move NT Quinton Dial back to nose tackle, a position he thrived under back in 2014.

What are your thoughts, Forever Faithful? Do you like the move or nah?

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.