DeForest Buckner might be the more highly profiled interior 49ers defensive lineman. But one could argue fellow defensive tackle Arik Armstead is outplaying his University of Oregon teammate through five games this year.
Armstead is half a sack behind Buckner, yes, and his 20 tackles are just one fewer than those of Buckner. Both have forced fumbles this season and have a fumble recovery, too.
But what separates Armstead from Buckner on this list, albeit slightly, is what Pro Football Focus thinks of the former.
To date, PFF has awarded Armstead an 89.5 overall grade on the season, which ranks second among all San Francisco defenders. Buckner, meanwhile, comes in at No. 10 with a 73.0 overall grade.
One could question the validity of these analytics, yes. But the same critics cannot say Armstead is having a bad year.
It’s completely the opposite of any such assessment. Suddenly re-signing Armstead after his contract year is up seems like a smart move.