New San Francisco 49ers center Weston Richburg can't wait for the team's first preseason game next Thursday because it means he'll finally be able to go against someone other than defensive lineman DeForest Buckner.

The 49ers' third-year defensive star is already considered to be one of the best players on the team, if not one of the best interior defenders in the league. He has been dominant in training camp.

"Going against guys like that is challenging, and it's good though because he does a really good job at what he does, obviously," Richburg told reporters on Friday. "If we get to see that every day, I think that will help us find things that we need to work on and take those things in to when we play other teams."

Buckner is the definition of "all gas, no brakes" in practices. During one play on Thursday, he got what would have been a sack in a game. However, the quarterback still released the football downfield. What did Buckner do during a play that should have been over? He sprinted downfield to where the football was headed.

"Buck is doing everything right," defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said after Thursday's practice. "He is doing everything right. He's big, he's violent, he's agile. He's special. As long as Buck keeps going in the way he's going, he'll make noise. He can disrupt an entire practice if he wants to. Fortunately for us, he always wants to. He's a problem in there for offenses, and we're fortunate to have him."

Buckner pressuring quarterbacks in practice is good news for a 49ers defense that was tied for 26th in the league last year in sacks. There is no doubt that he is the centerpiece of the defensive front heading into the 2018 season. Buckner ranked second among interior defenders last year, behind just Geno Atkins, when it comes to total pressures (52), and no interior defender forced more hurries than Buckner's 19, according to Pro Football Focus.

"I think he is taking huge steps forward this year," head coach Kyle Shanahan said earlier this week. "Just watching how he moves, some of his different pass rushes, having a little more tools to use, and he always has what he was born with – size and power. That's where it starts."

49ers players will get Saturday off before returning to the practice field on Sunday.