San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman DeForest Buckner was snubbed during the Pro Bowl selections in December. He eventually earned a trip to the annual all-star game after Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox's exit due to injury.

Our own Bobby Horne listed Buckner as the top-ranked player on the 49ers roster leading into free agency. That's high praise considering the record-breaking season tight end George Kittle, who came in at No. 2, had in 2018.

Only two 49ers players were named to Pro Football Focus' Top 101 players from the 2018 NFL season — Kittle and tackle Joe Staley. Buckner, who had the third-most sacks among interior linemen (behind Aaron Donald and Chris Jones), was left off the list. Pro Football Focus did, however, list him among the top 10 players to miss the top-101 list.

Interpret the newest list how you want — the top 10 players who were being considered for the list but fell short or the top 10 players not good enough for the ranking. Either way, here is what Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus had to say about the 49ers' budding defensive star.

"Earning 81.0-plus grades in each of the past two seasons, San Francisco 49ers' DeForest Buckner is quietly becoming a productive, consistent force for the team's defense at just 24 years young," wrote Renner. "In 2018, he picked up career-highs in defensive stops (37) and total pressures (53) playing a mix of defensive interior and edge defender for the 49ers."

Buckner is one of the young 49ers players due for a contract extension. His four-year rookie deal ends in 2019, and the 49ers have a fifth-year option at their disposal, but a long-term contract would be ideal. Both head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have indicated that they would like to keep Buckner as part of the team's long-term plans.

Shanahan said in December that "DeFo is someone we want to be a Niner for a long time."

Working out a long-term deal will be up to Lynch, EVP of football operations, Paraag Marathe, and company.

"We're going to do everything we can to ensure that DeFo is a Niner for a long, long time," Lynch said during a December KNBR interview. "I'm sure it won't be cheap, but those are all things you have to figure out. I can tell you that the motivation in this building is to keep him around here for a long, long time."

Buckner finished this past season as the first 49ers player since 2012 to have 10-or-more regular-season sacks. He finished the year with a career-high 12 sacks, 67 combined tackles, and three passes defensed.