DeForest Buckner seems like a kind-hearted man who is capable of playing mean on the football field, which may be what the Jacksonville Jaguars need in the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were bitten in the butt by former general manager Gene Smith’s decision to focus on drafting players who were of “high character” (however he arbitrarily defined it) and “base hits” rather than home run gambles.
So, in the Jaguars promotional video for Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner, it may have rubbed many Jags fans who suffered through the Gene Smith era the wrong way. Buckner kept saying he was a good man and that’s what he would bring to the Jaguars along with hard work.
That isn’t the emphasis that many fans want to hear from a defensive lineman who may be called upon to wreak havoc each and every down. It especially isn’t what many want to hear from a player who is not a perfect schematic fit for the defense and, if the Jags were to select him, would have a high opportunity cost based on the other players available.
The good news, for wary Jags fans, is that Buckner can back up his humble mentality with play on the field. He posted an impressive 10.5 sacks in 2015 and 17 tackles for a loss, his second season with double digits in the latter. He is clearly much more aggressive than his off-field persona may at first indicate.
Buckner also hints at that at the end of his promotional video with the Jags, saying “I’m a good person off the field, and I’m a dog on the field.” His play in his collegiate career backs that statement up and, if the Jags do draft him, the kind-hearted man off the field is an asset attached to a good football player.
That’s a much better situation than it was in the Gene Smith era when being a good football player seemed like an afterthought to whether the player was a good person or not.
If the Jags want to win more football games, they need more people who want to tear it up on the field. DeForest Buckner could be one of those players.