No. 2: DeForest Buckner En Route to a Pro Bowl
Last year, DeForest Buckner was snubbed by not being selected to the Pro Bowl. For most of 2017, Pro Football Focus was ranking the defensive tackle within the top five at his position. Yet the lack of sack totals — he had just 3.0 last season — it’s not hard to see why he was left out of this important accolade.
That should change after 2018.
Buckner’s 78.8 overall PFF grade this season puts him at 25th among interior defenders. But what a lot of the voters will see is his sack production. He already smashed his 2016 career high of six sacks, already posting 9.0 this year with three games left to play. That number puts him at 16th among all defenders in the NFL this deep in the season, and second behind pure interior defensive tackles behind only the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald.
If Donald is the bona fide standard for interior pass-rushers, Buckner certainly isn’t far behind.
Donald is still the leading NFC vote getter at this position. And while a vote-in starter’s nod would be great for Buckner, it’s almost impossible to assume he at least won’t get in as an alternate.