Chargers among 3 best NFL team fits for DeForest Buckner
The PFF analysis team recently put out its latest draft board for 2016, this time including the top 100 NFL prospects.
Where do the top prospects fit best? We identified three ideal team fits for each player in the top 10, based on scheme, need and where each prospect is likely to be selected.
Oregon interior defensive lineman DeForest Buckner has been one of PFF’s top-ranked prospects since the end of the college season, as he was by far the highest-graded player at his position in our college rankings. He has since risen up many other boards as well, and is being viewed as a potential top-10, if not top-5, pick.
He is currently No. 2 on our board, and while he projects as a classic 3-4 defensive end (5-technique) – a position not typically associated with being worth the No. 1 overall pick – he merits consideration based on value alone. Here are the best three team fits for Buckner, starting right at the top of the draft:
Tennessee Titans: Ohio State DE Joey Bosa, Ole Miss LT Laremy Tunsil and Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey have all been mentioned more frequently as options for Tennessee’s top overall selection than Buckner has, but scheme-wise, he’d be a great fit for the Titans’ 3-4 base defense. He’d line up opposite fellow defensive end Jurrell Casey (ranked 13th among interior linemen in PFF grade), instantly giving them one of the best tandems in the league. In many ways, he’d fill a far more pressing need than Tunsil would, he’s a higher-ranked player (on our board) than Ramsey, and fits better schematically than Bosa, who makes more sense as a 4-3 DE than a 3-4 OLB.
San Diego Chargers: The Bolts were awful on defense in 2015, meaning they can use help anywhere – and given their 3-4 base defense, Buckner would be an excellent choice for them if he’s available at No. 3 overall. The Chargers earned the fifth-worst overall PFF pass-rush grade in the NFL in 2015, and got absolutely nothing from anyone on the interior (edge rusher Melvin Ingram provided the majority of the pressure). An underrated element of Armstead’s game is his pass-rushing ability – while he was the ninth-best interior lineman in run-defense grade, he had by far the best pass-rush grade, on the strength of his position-leading 67 quarterback pressures in 2015 (12 sacks, 16 hits, 39 hurries).
San Francisco Niners: There are some obvious matches here, if Buckner lasted until the seventh overall pick. He’d be playing for former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, opposite his former teammate in Arik Armstead (the team’s first-round pick in 2015) at the other defensive end spot in San Francisco’s 3-4 alignment. San Francisco could also really afford an upgrade to their defensive line, having earned the third-lowest pass-rush grade in the NFL last season. The only positive pass-rush grades belonged to Armstead and Tank Carradine in part-time roles, and edge rusher Aaron Lynch. Those four plus Armstead would form one of the better young collections of front-seven talent in the NFL.