(Editor's Note: With just one month until the start of the 2016 NFL Draft on April 28, the staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of possible Cowboys draft picks – from the top of the first round to the bottom of the talent pool. Today's featured player is Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner.)
Name: DeForest Buckner
*Honors: *Buckner became just the second Oregon player in 32 seasons to win the Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year award, joining only Haloti Ngata (2005).
Key Stat:No matter the position and no matter the sport for that matter, consistency is always coveted. Buckner proved he can get to the quarterback on a consistent basis, finishing his illustrious Oregon career with at least a half-sack in each of his final eight games for the Ducks. In seven of those games, Buckner registered a full sack, and also had 12 tackles for loss in those final eight games as well.
Where He's Projected: Buckner is one of those players that doesn't fit all teams, depending on their defensive scheme. But for the ones needing a dynamic 3-4 defensive end, he could go as high as the top five in the draft. He'll be the first to say he can play any position in any scheme, and that might be true. At 6-7, playing outside end in a 4-3 scheme would be imposing, but his body type suggests he'll be more of an inside player. Buckner likely won't fall past the Top 10 picks, but there some teams that likely don't seem him as a good fit.
How He Helps the Cowboys:Certain players in this draft would be good additions to the Cowboys, if they were picking a few spots later in the first round. And Buckner is seemingly one of those players. While he could help the team in the interior of the defense at the 3-technique, it doesn't seem to be a logical pick at No. 4 overall. Then again, the Cowboys might not be at that spot if they get offered a trade they can't refuse. If one of these teams behind them decide they need to move up and take a quarterback, then it's possible Dallas slides back a few spots. In that scenario, a player such as Buckner might be a more viable option. While the Cowboys do have Tyrone Crawford and signed Cedric Thornton, a player such as Buckner gives them even more size and ability inside. He could probably play end in a 4-3 scheme, at least on first and second downs, but his biggest impact would probably could from the middle as a nickel pass-rusher who can create havoc in the backfield.
Scout's Take: Played as a 3-4 defensive end. Some initial quickness off the snap. Can extend on his man. Two-gap player. Will have to learn pass-rush moves. Hard to move when he plays square. Doesn't always burst to the quarterback. Physical tackler. Tends to get tied up. Can control when he gets his hands inside. Doesn't do much on the twist. More push than pass-rush moves. Can't avoid the low block, but has strength to snatch the blocker. Can work down the line. Will play tall at times. Aware for the screen pass. Has some power to bull rush, but plays out of balance at times. See him playing end and tackle. -- Bryan Broaddus