There was no need for the 49ers to ease rookie DeForest Buckner into the action in his first NFL game.
Buckner started and played 51 of the team’s 61 defensive snaps – most of any 49ers defensive lineman -- in the team’s season-opening 28-0 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. And he figures to see about as much action as possible on Sunday on what is expected to be a hot day against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I thought he had a really good first game,” 49ers defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil said of Buckner, the No. 7 overall pick. “I thought he was really solid. I thought he was disruptive in the run game. He made some plays in the pass game. I thought it was a great start for him -- a very, very good start for him.
“He earned the right to play throughout all the spring and training camp.”
Buckner said he was not entirely sure exactly what role he would have to open the season. Buckner recorded three tackles in the opener. The 49ers suited up six of the team’s eight defensive linemen. Arik Armstead saw the second-most playing time on the 49ers' line with 35 snaps. Mike Purcell and Quinton Dial also saw considerable action as part of a rotation.
“I was just ready for whatever,” Buckner said. “If coach was going to put me in, I just had to make the most out of it.
“I think I did all right. I have to do a better job with my leverage in the run game, though, and play certain blocks better and working on that technique that I practiced.”