In his first season as a member of the Indianapolis Colts, the defensive tackle against DeForest Buckner was as advertised. He amassed 58 tackles for blue and white, including an impressive 9.5 sacks in 15 games, and added 26 career-high quarterback hits.
Thanks to his impressive season as the undisputed leader of the Colts defense line, Buckner will crack the top 5 of Pro Football Focus center-backs ahead of the 2021 season.
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Here’s what PFF had to say about Buckner’s landing in 5th place overall, right behind guys like Aaron Donald from Los Angeles, Chris Jones from Kansas City, Cam Heyward from Pittsburgh, and Grady Jarrett from Atlanta.
Buckner was exactly what the Colts hoped for when they traded for him ahead of the 2020 season, if not more. His overall score of 89.6 last season was a career high and finished fifth among indoor qualifiers. Buckner has been in third place in both sacks (38.0) and quarterback hits (66) since joining the league in 2016. Due to a young and unproven edge rotation in Indianapolis, he will likely have to carry much of the load in 2021.
While Buckner will have to bear the pass rush burden in 2021, it will be incredibly difficult for teams to slow Buckner inside, especially with a man like Grover Stewart who shockingly failed to crack the top 32 in central defense attack – Occupy blockers next to him.
With the draft capital and long-term investments in Buckner, it’s great to see he exceeded expectations so early in his time in Indianapolis.
With a guy like Stewart by his side and a top athlete in Kwity Paye for the Colts out there, 2021 could be an even better year for Buckner and the Colts.
Do you have thoughts on the ranking of DeForest Buckner according to PFF? Drop a line in the comment section below!
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