Specifically, Ryan Kelly (#69), Darius Leonard (#37), and Quenton Nelson (#33) have all had their rankings already come in for the Colts.
While Los Angeles Rams defensive superstar Aaron Donald remains ‘king’ at defensive tackle, Buckner is arguably the best player at his position right behind him.
Even though Buckner was shockingly snubbed from last year’s Pro Bowl team, he was named to the 2020 NFL First-Team All-Pro team during his debut season with the Colts—and this latest ranking (which is voted on by a collection of Buckner’s peers, only reinforces such a notion that he’s an elite player at defensive tackle):
Making NFL QBs sweat since 2016.— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) August 22, 2021
This past season, Buckner recorded 58 tackles (37 solo), 10 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks (a team-high), 57 total QB pressures (a team-high), 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, a safety, and 3 passes defensed during 15 games (14 starts) in 2020.
He was graded PFF’s 5th best defensive tackle with a +89.6 overall grade last year.
At 6’7”, 295 pounds (with freakishly long 34 3/8” tentacle arms), the former 7th overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers is a defensive monster in the interior—as a dominant playmaker inside.
He has strength, quickness, athleticism, awareness, and those long, long disrupting arms.
Buckner was worth every bit of that 2020 first round pick that the Colts surrendered for him. Still only 27 years old, he projects to be a cornerstone for the Colts franchise (and an imposing anchor for their defensive line) for the next handful of seasons.
He’s also a tremendous leader in the locker room.
Like Nelson and Leonard before him, he recently saw his own oversized player banner decorate the friendly outside wall of Lucas Oil Stadium.
D-Fo continues to be a force for the Colts and that should only continue going forward.