No. 2: Former SF 49ers Defensive Tackle DeForest Buckner
Yes, it still hurts the SF 49ers traded Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts during the offseason. While not the direct result of the trade, the Colts own the No. 2-ranked scoring defense this season, and Buckner’s 23 tackles and nine quarterback hits are a bit reason why.
Granted, no Buckner trade would have equated to the Niners eating up a lot of his contract hit, and it would have negated the ability to land another up-and-coming defensive tackle, Javon Kinlaw, in the NFL Draft.
But the SF 49ers essentially elected to keep defensive end Arik Armstead around over Buckner, re-signing the former while trading the latter, and some may fairly wonder if that was the correct move.
Since this is revisionist history, though, it would have been possible for San Francisco to retain both. At least for this season.
Paired with the lengthy list of injuries the team has endured along its defensive line this season, namely to defensive tackle Solomon Thomas (ACL), EDGE Nick Bosa (ACL) and EDGE Dee Ford (back), having a player like Buckner back in the folds would have retained some exceptional thump the D-line has missed for nearly the entirety of 2020.
Or it’s just because Niners fans miss Buckner. That’s OK, too.