Oregon DL Coach Ron Aiken Compares DeForest Buckner to Calais Campbell

NFL media and fans alike love player comparisons. They're particularly useful when getting to know a fresh crop of college prospects in the weeks leading up to the draft.

However, very few have the time and resources to watch film of more than 400 NFL hopefuls each year. That's where comparisons come into play. If prospect "X" is compared to current or former player "Y," it gives people a benchmark in which to gauge their expectations.

DeForest Buckner's comparison was Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Calais Campbell, who has made back-to-back Pro Bowls and owns 48.5 career sacks. That's pretty high praise for the San Francisco 49ers first-round pick in 2016.

But it's not just the media who project that Buckner could enjoy similar success as Campbell. The man, who is perhaps most qualified to make the comparison, has made such a claim.

Ron Aiken, Oregon's current defensive line coach and the Cardinals former defensive line coach (2007-12), drew the same parallel between the linemen in a phone interview with 49ers.com.

"I had Calais Campbell at Arizona, and they're two similar type of guys as far as overall size is concerned. I think there is (a comparison) because of the height factor," Aiken said of the two defensive linemen who both stand over 6-foot-7. "DeForest is probably more athletic as far as being able to get his hips turned. Both of those guys are great ball players and hard workers."

Buckner posted 10.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss as a senior in 2015 to earn Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors.

His success on the football field stems from the quality of his character. Aiken called the Waianae, Hi., native a "top-notch young man" and noted his dedication as a student of the game.

Aiken added that Buckner's potential as an NFL player is "wide open." The 22-year-old still has plenty of growing to do in order to fill in his massive frame. San Francisco's strength and conditioning coaches, led by Mark Uyeyama, will help Buckner in that regard.

In terms of Buckner's on-field play, Aiken gave a tantalizing scouting report.

"He is going to dominate the line of scrimmage at the point of attack," Aiken said. "If they run at him, he is going to dominate with good pad level and with a good strike and good lift. He's going to be physical at the if the ball is coming his way. And then if the ball is going away from him, he's going to give great effort getting to the football."

Buckner's reunion with friend and former Oregon teammate Arik Armstead has also garnered plenty of attention. Aiken called it an ideal scenario not only for the 49ers defensive line, but also for the players themselves.

"It's great to have both of those guys playing together," Aiken said. "The 49ers will definitely benefit from it. Both guys will give great effort and try to improve their game every single day.

"They know each other and I know they're excited to be back together, and they'll push each other to strive and be the best they can possibly be."

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