INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts knew exactly what they were getting when they acquired DeForest Buckner back in March.
When the Colts' personnel and coaching staffs popped in Buckner's film, they saw an elite defensive tackle; a disruptor up front who wreaked havoc on quarterbacks and running backs in the backfield.
Accordingly, the accolades — All-Pro, Pro Bowler — matched the film.
Buckner added another notch to the belt tonight, however, when he was revealed as the 56th-best player in the league in the NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2020" list, which is voted on by players across the NFL.
Perhaps surprisingly, this is Buckner's first-career appearance on an "NFL Top 100 Players" list; he's also the first Colts player to be selected to this year's countdown.
Buckner has lived up to the billing of being the seventh-overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2016 NFL Draft. In his first four seasons with the 49ers, he has started all 63 games in which he's competed, collecting 262 career tackles (38 for a loss) with 28.5 sacks, 11 passes defensed, seven fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. He also has one fumble recovery for a touchdown and six career multiple-sack games.
In 2018, Buckner had a career-best 12 sacks and 17 tackles for loss, and was selected to his first-career Pro Bowl. Last year, Buckner had 62 total tackles (nine for a loss) with 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries, and was named Second-Team All-Pro.
Buckner was downright dominant in postseason play in 2019, helping lead the 49ers to an appearance in Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs, where he tallied six tackles (one for a loss) with 1.5 sacks and three quarterback hits.
Heading into this offseason expressing a need to find a dominant presence at the three-technique position along the defensive interior, Colts general manager Chris Ballard in March pulled the trigger on a blockbuster trade, sending the team's first-round (13th-overall) pick to the 49ers in exchange for Buckner, who was immediately signed to a long-term contract extension.
Just 26 years old and heading into his fifth NFL season in 2020, Buckner is expected to make a massive impact for a young, talented Colts defense.
Buckner is the first Colts' defensive tackle to be selected to the "NFL Top 100 Players" countdown since the show debuted in 2011; he's the fifth Indy defensive player selected overall, joining cornerback Vontae Davis, edge rushers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis and linebacker Darius Leonard.
The "Top 100 Players of 2020" countdown continues tonight with Nos. 55-51 until 10 p.m. ET, and then Nos. 50-41 from 10-11 p.m. ET.
Nos. 40-31 (8 p.m.), 30-21 (9 p.m.) and 20-11 (10 p.m.) will be revealed Tuesday night, while the countdown concludes with Nos. 10-6 (8 p.m.) and 5-1 (9 p.m.) on Wednesday night.