DeForest Buckner shuts down Joshua Garnett

With his 11th-straight positive grade, Oregon's standout shows exactly why he's our highest-graded interior defender in the nation.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

(AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

DeForest Buckner shuts down Joshua Garnett


Coming into this week’s Oregon-Stanford showdown, DeForest Buckner was the highest-graded interior defender in the nation going up against Joshua Garnett, the highest-graded guard in the nation.

Buckner emerges having only enhanced his credentials and extended his lead atop the interior defender rankings, while Garnett has slipped off the top spot in the guard list thanks to their matchup. He was the clear winner when the two went head-to-head early every time. Coming into this game, Garnett has surrendered just two sacks, two hits and three hurries for a total of seven pressures on the season. Buckner beat him for a sack and three hits alone, and demolished him on a bull rush for two of them.

Bull rushes don’t produce as much pressure as simply beating a player to the in or outside — because it’s a hell of a lot tougher moving a 300-pound blocker all the way to the quarterback than it is just beating him there yourself — but they can lay down a real marker of sheet physical superiority. That’s what this game felt like for Buckner who beat Garnett outside twice, but also just drove him back to the quarterback on a couple of occasions.

This is something Garnett simply hasn’t experienced much, especially this season. In fact, Buckner is the only player to generate any positive pass-rush against Garnett by bull rushing him this season, and he did it as if it was no big deal. This was Garnett’s first negatively-graded game of the season and only the fourth over the last two years.

Buckner was a player that I liked better than teammate and first-round pick Arik Armstead a year ago, and this represents his 11th-straight positively graded game — every game this season. He has now eclipsed the mark Henry Anderson posted a year ago as the best-graded interior defender in the nation, and has done so over just 11 games.

Buckner now has a sack in the past five consecutive games and has yet to be blanked as a pass-rusher this season. He has been absolutely dominant as a pass-rusher and is not much worse as a run defender, where he was actually far better against Stanford.

Buckner is a man amongst boys in almost all of the games he plays in, and as we saw this past Saturday, he’s just far too physically strong and talented for most college blockers to stand a chance.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • Jacob

    This is an interesting take. I suggest re watching the game though, Josh Garnett got Buckner basically any time they squared off in the run game and in pass pro. The sack you’re talking about came when the RT got demolished and Hogan stepped up into Garnett’s back. Garnett faired well, really well. Not discrediting Buckner at all, but re watch that game

    • shaunhan murray

      I doubt they would write an article without feeling for sure they saw what they did

      • Jacob

        I’m not discrediting Buckner and his ability, but he was not in the backfield all game long. He did disrupt multiple plays. I’m defending the play of a guard who had his fair share of success vs him, that is all. I have multiple clips proving it. As well, of ones where Buckner gets tossed to the ground. Buckner very talented, Garnett very talented. Just feel domination is mis leading to the readers. As well, enjoy PFF, so that’s only reason I bring it up.

        • shaunhan murray

          Doesn’t orgeon only rush 3 a play? So its possible buckner was beating his man consistently yet was stuck having to deal with a second and thats can take awhile and plays its hard to beat two players

    • The Dude

      No disrespect to the first guy to comment but Buckner was in the backfield all game long. He was so good that a very well respected website that specializes in evaluating individual player performances wrote an article about his dominance. LoL

  • Mike Green

    last season, with both Buckner & Armstead — the D line was a major reason the Ducks played in the national championship