Throughout the buildup to the 2016 NFL Draft, DeForest Buckner was consistently one of the most popular names linked to the San Francisco 49ers.
Desired for his size, length, versatility and fit in the team's 3-4 defensive scheme, the 49ers jumped on Buckner with their top pick last Thursday night.
Here are five things to know about the man San Francisco hopes will help anchor its defensive front for many years to come.
- He's reuniting with former Ducks
Buckner, although new to the NFL, will be around some familiar faces in the Bay Area to help ease the transition.
The defensive lineman played three seasons alongside Arik Armstead in Eugene. In 2014, the pair combined for 127 tackles, 18.5 for loss and nine quarterback hits.
The idea of those two larger-than-life athletes teaming up again has to sound nice to Chip Kelly and defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro, both of whom were responsible for recruiting Buckner and Armstead to Oregon.
"Man, I’m probably the happiest guy in the draft right now," Buckner said last Thursday. "Having that history with him back in Oregon, we’re all good friends."
- He's able to start the rookie program on time
Last year due to NFL rules, the 49ers were forced to wait until Oregon's spring semester was completed for Armstead to be eligible to participate in the team's offseason program.
But since Buckner graduated early in December, there will be no such delay to the start of his NFL career.
Buckner, the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and First-Team All-American, earned his undergraduate degree in social science.
- He's a proud Hawaiian
As one of the top prospects in this year's draft class, Buckner was invited to attend the first round in person in Chicago.
Instead, the 22-year-old opted to spend the special day with his family and friends in Kapolei, Hawaii – which is about 20 minutes from his hometown of Waianae on the island of O'ahu.
A gathering of about 250 people were in attendance to watch the 49ers select Bucker with the No. 7 overall pick.
He is now the second-highest NFL Draft selection for a player from a Hawaii high school. Marcus Mariota, taken No. 2 overall last year, holds the record.
The 49ers have had several Hawaiian natives on their roster over the years, including four-time Super Bowl champion Jesse Sapolu.
- He's appeared on ESPN's "Sports Science"
In the weeks before this year's draft, Buckner visited the set of "Sports Science" to undergo testing designed to measure different aspects of his skill set.
The show concluded that Buckner, who stands 6-foot-7, 291 pounds, delivers a half-ton of force when exploding off of the line of scrimmage. That's more power than a headbutt from a bighorn ram.
Another nugget learned from the video is that Buckner's vertical jump of 36 1/2 inches is two inches higher than New Orleans Saints wideout Brandin Cooks, who Buckner outweights by more than 100 pounds. Cooks was a first-round draft pick in 2014.
"There's really no other way to put it," John Brenkus states, "DeForest Buckner is an athletic freak."
- He's a Steph Curry fan
Buckner should have no problem fitting in as a Northern California resident. Like much of the world, the rookie has long admired the work of Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.
Now, after being selected by the 49ers, Buckner is a Bay Area peer of Curry. This is also a good time to mention that Buckner is no stranger to the hardwood.
As a senior in high school, he earned Gatorade State Player of the Year honors after leading his team to a 28-2 record and state championship. He averaged 12.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 1.6 steals and 1.3 assists that season. Another former basketball star-turned-NFL player, Bruce Ellington, believes Buckner would crack San Francisco's starting five.