San Francisco 49ers first round selection DeForest Buckner spoke to the media following Wednesday's practice. Buckner was drafted by the 49ers with the seventh overall selection at the end of April as the team hopes to improve a pass rush that produced just 28 sacks in 2015, ranking 29th in the league.
One topic of discussion was former Oregon Ducks teammate and current 49ers teammate Arik Armstead, who was last year's first round selection by San Francisco. "He got a lot better...even better...than he was before and i'm catching up with him. You know what I mean? It was always like a friendly competition back at Oregon," Buckner said when asked how Armstead had improved since the two last played together. "Arik, he's doing really well. He's built as a player on and off the field. I'm following his footsteps right now because he's got a year over me so I'm just following what him and the other veterans do."
"That year in the league, it's going to change you no matter what," Bucker said when asked if Armstead seemed bigger or stronger than he remembered him. "He's bigger, stronger, faster. I just gotta catch up."
Buckner was asked about ILB NaVorro Bowman and his leadership on defense. "When Bow speaks, everybody listens. He has that type of leadership and everything and he's a great leader to follow," he responded. Buckner went on to state that the veterans on the team have made it very comfortable for the rookies. "I couldn't ask for a better place," said Buckner.
Buckner also touched on going against Alex Balducci, another former teammate from Oregon. However, Balducci played defensive tackle and Oregon and has been playing offensive guard during practices. Buckner stated that it was strange early on but that he can't let up just because they are friends. "It's still a competition. He makes me better and I make him better," said Buckner. "He's looking like a natural at guard."
You can watch the entire interview below.
DeForest Buckner Details First Minicamp with 49ers