Mayock: Buckner could end up as top defender from 2016 draft

Count NFL Media draft expert Mike Mayock as a believer in DeForest Buckner.

The former Oregon defensive lineman projects as a top-10 pick based on NFL Media mock drafts as he enters the NFL Scouting Combine this week, and Mayock told The Rich Eisen Show on Monday that he not only sees elite talent in the versatile, 6-foot-8, 295-pound Buckner, but also the kind of long-term career success that will make the general manager who drafts him look awfully good.

"He can play up and down the defensive line of scrimmage. He's nasty, he's tough, he's powerful. He's got a little Reggie White hump move that's friggin' awesome. Eight to 10 years from now, I think he'll be one of the guys we'll be looking back at that will be in the conversation as the best defensive player to come out of this draft," Mayock said.

It's not an easy year to stand out at Buckner's position, either.

Quality interior defensive linemen, usually tough to find, are in plentiful supply for this draft. Mayock has repeatedly said since the Reese's Senior Bowl that 10 or more defensive tackles could draw a first-round grade from at least one NFL club.

"You're going to get in the third and fourth round this year, and there are going to be defensive tackles still available that would have been first- or second-rounders in other years," Mayock said.

Still, Buckner is considered the best of that group, drawing Mayock's No. 1 ranking at the position over Ole Miss' Robert Nkemdiche, Louisville's Sheldon Rankins, and the Alabama tandem of Jarran Reed and A'Shawn Robinson.

So how quickly could Buckner be off the board? The Cleveland Browns, San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys all have a need on the defensive line, and pick Nos. 2, 3 and 4, respectively. He goes as high as third overall and as low as ninth in NFL Media mock drafts.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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