16th Pick – Detroit Lions (7-9)
DeForest Buckner – DT
Oregon – Senior
6-7, 290 Pounds
For those who say that the Ndamukong Suh experiment to free agency went poorly would be an understatement. Suh played in a lackluster system for the Dolphins, while the Lions avoided putting too much money into a guy who would fit perfectly for them. Neither team got what they needed last season (although the Dolphins might be better in year two), the Lions are about to enter another off-season of loss. Tyrunn Walker, Haloti Ngata, and Jason Jones seem destined to land elsewhere.
The Lions seem poised to make a defensive selection (they should try to push Riley Reiff to the right side also), so I put the best player available. DeForest Buckner has been a solid player for the Oregon Ducks, and seems like the type of plug-in-player at defensive tackle. He uses his long arms for destruction, has a wide base to get outside the tackle (if he plays defensive end), and makes great plays on the interior by pushing the guard/center around.
I want to see how he does in the NFL, against bigger and better nasties, and see how steep of a learning curve he has. He is a senior, so he has had time to digest most of the defensive lineman terms, and I would love for him to get some mentorship. I don’t know if the Lions pick up another defensive lineman in the draft or free agency, but I do think the Lions will give Caraun Reid plenty of chances to outpace Buckner or whoever the next guy is.
Player Comparison: Arik Armstead – San Francisco 49ers
Next: The Falcons are on the clock