Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner is clearly no stranger to the ‘NFL Top 100’ annual ranking, and once again, found himself amidst the league’s 100 best players as voted on by his peers—landing at the 66th overall spot:
A familiar face to the #NFLTop100 list at #66! pic.twitter.com/eMPf5Nqg9o— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) August 15, 2022
A threat.— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) August 15, 2022
: #NFLTop100 on NFL Network pic.twitter.com/cIVyin0uij
Buckner actually saw his ranking slide a bit this offseason, as he was an NFL First-Team All-Pro in 2020.
That being said, Buckner was still a Pro Bowler and one of the Top 5 defensive tackles in all of football—even if the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald remains from another planet.
Buckner started off the season a bit slow for his normally super high standards with just one sack, but really caught fire starting in Week 5 and thereafter.
He finished with 68 tackles (40 solo), 10 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks, and 3 passes defensed in 17 games (16 starts) this past season.
As the undisputed anchor of the Colts defensive line, Buckner has consistently been an interior force for the Colts—featuring long arms, elite athleticism, and big cat like quickness, with the strength to still hold his own in the trenches. He is able to both routinely penetrate and disrupt the passing pocket and opposing backfield respectively.
With the big offseason addition of Yannick Ngakoue, defenses will either have to pay less attention to Buckner inside or run the risk of Ngakoue wreaking havoc off the edge (not to mention Kwity Paye could emerge as an additional impact pass rusher). Either way, it should be a recipe for improved success for the Colts’ pass rushing prospects in 2022.
While Buckner didn’t necessarily have his best career season in 2021, he’s poised to have another All-Pro caliber season for the Colts again just a year later (which they’ll gladly take)—and should find himself on this ranking yet again come next offseason.