Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports



The sack numbers may not be there, but San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman DeForest Buckner is having a great season. The second-year player finally got to the quarterback for the first time this season when he brought down Carson Palmer of the Arizona Cardinals in the third quarter of Sunday's game.

Buckner's 23 quarterback pressures lead all interior defenders this season, according to Pro Football Focus. Not only that, but prior to Thursday night's game between the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buckner had more quarterback pressures than every edge defender in the league except for one – Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who has 30. As of Thursday night, Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers has tied Buckner's 23 but has played one more game than the 49ers defensive lineman.

Many believe Buckner is going to be a special NFL player. Many believe Buckner is already a special NFL player. Among those believers is San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch, who joins KNBR weekly to discuss the 49ers. He did so again on Thursday night.

During the conversation, Lynch was asked about the 49ers front seven's dominating performance in Arizona. The group got to Palmer six times in what would end up being a heartbreaking overtime loss. While Buckner earned his first sack of the season, rookie defensive end Solomon Thomas earned the first sack of his NFL career and defensive end Elvis Dumervil earned the 100th and 101st sacks of his career, moving to 29th all-time in career sack total.

What did Lynch take away from the 49ers defensive front's performance on Sunday?

"I thought it was really good," Lynch said. "The exciting thing for me? I think it can be even better. Frankly, we should have dominated that offensive line. They were banged up and those guys are professionals but that's a group that we should have -- we felt good about the matchups going in and then some guys they maybe were planning on being healthy weren't healthy. So, that's one we should have played like that. I think our message to them is: bring that on the last drive of the game. That's the difference.

"But we do have some players playing incredibly well and incredibly hard up there led by DeForest Buckner. He's been really playing at a high level and I think he's on the verge. I've played with guys that have played at Hall of Fame levels – Warren Sapp comes to mind – that were just dominant. DeFo's played really well. I think he can be dominant and I'm looking forward to him getting even better.

"Solomon Thomas is starting to come alive. That whole group as a whole is starting to play really well and, as I said, the most exciting thing is I think there's more in there."

You can listen to the entire 17-minute interview with Lynch below.