Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner was just barely pushed out of the top 10 at the halfway point. His teammate, both with the 49ers and at the University of Oregon, can’t be left out at all, though.
And Arik Armstead makes it squarely to the No. 2 spot, too.
The “why” shouldn’t be too hard to understand. He’s already tied with Dee Ford with 5.5 sacks, and one should expect both players to sniff double-digit numbers towards the end of the year. This bodes well for Armstead, who’ll be a free agent in 2020. And while he might be playing his way out of the Niners’ price range next year, they’re certainly getting his best effort now.
That matters most.
There’s far more than just the sack production, though. Pro Football Focus actually ranks Armstead San Francisco’s best defender, posting an impressive 88.8 overall grade over nine weeks. The numbers are equally split against both the run and the pass, too.
Kind of like Jimmie Ward in the secondary, Armstead isn’t quite receiving the attention and recognition he deserves.
But there’s no doubting the nature of impact he’s having on the 49ers’ top defense.