(AP Photo/AJ Mast)
4. IND — DeForest Buckner
DeForest Buckner is one of the most under appreciated DL in the NFL. Only a few fans outside of San Fransisco and Indianapolis truly appreciate the greatness of Buckner. The Indianapolis Colts have a Superbowl caliber defense, and it all begins with D. Buckner.
The back to back All-Pro is a force at defensive tackle. He has finished as the 3rd, 16th, and 10th best DL over the past 3 years. He is joined by rookie DL Kwity Paye on the edge, which should free up some interior pass lanes for Buckner.
Buckner also has one of the best IDPs in the league behind him in LB Darius Leonard. Those two work the interior of the defense better than any DL/LB combo in the NFL. Buckner is usually available later in drafts, but do not hesitate to make him a mid round draft pick. He will deliver on most weeks with a few double digit sack games sure to happen.
Buckner will likely improve on his 58 tackles and 9.5 sacks of last year, particularly if he plays all 17 games. He also fills the stat sheet in unconventional ways with 2 forced fumbles and 3 passes defended. He has a weekly mid floor, with potential to put up huge fantasy numbers against bad offensive lines.
With QB Carson Wentz and OL Q. Nelson both recovering from surgeries, look for a great defense to play with pride in Septmeber. Buckner will be predominately asked to control the line of scrimmage, but will also make big plays through out the season. A third consecutive All-Pro is well within his reach. If he gets 14+ sacks and the Colts go to the playoffs, he will be in discussion for Defensive Player of the Year…. and it will be about time.
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