SANTA CLARA -- DeForest Bucker says getting snubbed from the NFL’s top 100 players list is only more motivation for him.
Throughout joint practices in Denver, Buckner was a huge challenge for the Broncos offensive linemen. He disrupted the pocket enough for Broncos offensive coordinator and former 49ers quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello to make a comment.
“He’s one of probably the three or four best interior players in this league,” Scangarello said. "So yeah, he’s always going to be tough to block and if you’re not planning around him, he’s going to cause problems.”
Buckner being left off the list was a surprise to many 49ers fans, players and even to Buckner himself.
“Yeah, I know, it’s crazy, right?" Buckner said. “You know, it is what is. Honestly at the end of the day, if I’m doing my job and contributing to my team, it’s all that matters to me, and the respect will come.
Buckner will use the omission as reason make a bigger impression on the league.
"I mean it’s just more fuel to the fire, you know what I’m saying?”
Buckner, who will make his preseason debut in Kansas City on Saturday, is excited to finally see the field after nearly eight months. He has been impressed with what he has seen from the defense thus far especially in Denver.
“I saw guys were flying around, playing physical,” Buckner said. “I thought the defense looked really good as a whole. Obviously, there are some parts we can fix up on all ends of the field, but I know overall the guys played hard.”
Much has been noted about the increased speed of the defensive line with the addition of free-agent pass rusher Dee Ford and first-round pick Nick Bosa. Even without the pair of edge rushers playing in Denver, Bucker said the evolution is apparent.
“Most definitely,” Buckner said. “I see a lot more guys confident in their ability and their assignments. Guys are just flying around and hitting anything moving and it’s exciting to see.”
Buckner plans on playing through the first half of the team's third preseason game in Kansas City. Kick-off is at 5 p.m. PT.