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2020 NFL Draft

Could DeForest Buckner be a fit for the Browns?

DeForest Buckner has big hands. Like, huge hands.

"I always knew I had kind of big hands. My siblings used to make fun of me," Buckner said in February at the NFL scouting combine, where his paws were measured at 11 and 3/4 inches. "Coming here, I kind of knew I'd measure at a pretty big size."

But considering Buckner — the Oregon defensive end considered by many draft analysts to be a top-five pick — is 6-foot-7 and 290 pounds with arms that measured 34 and 3/8 inches — that fact probably shouldn't come as a surprise.

With that frame, Buckner had a breakout season with the Ducks last year, racking up 83 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. For his efforts, he was named the Pac 12's Defensive Player of the Year and an All-American.

"I just felt like a bully on the field. I was just more comfortable. I knew coming into this season, I could really have my way with some guys," Buckner said of his senior season. "And when I stepped on the field, I just tried to be a bully."

And now, Buckner is out to prove he's the best defensive lineman in the draft and one of this year's top players.

"I can do everything. I can stop the run. I can also rush the passer, which I did a lot better this year," Buckner said. "They can get a complete defensive lineman when they pick me."

Indeed, the Hawaii native offers potential suitors — including the Browns, who hold the second overall pick — an intriguing option.

Buckner played in a 3-4 defense where the Ducks used his unusual combination of size and speed to clog holes up the middle and chase opposing quarterbacks.

The latter of those skill sets — running down signal-callers — was something he made an effort to improve last season after notching 7.5 sacks in his first three seasons at Oregon.

"It's really just the finishing part. Throughout the years, I've been getting back there, I haven't been able to break down and finish and complete the sack. The quarterback would always get away from me," he said. "This year, in the offseason, I really focused on closing down when I get toward the quarterback."

And for Cleveland — which will run a 3-4 defense intent on getting after the quarterback under defensive coordinator Ray Horton — Buckner could fit on a defensive line in need of depth.

He's also versatile. "I played in every technique possible, from nose and rushing outside at end," Buckner said, adding he particularly liked playing on the inside of the defensive line.

"I think this season I really had a lot of success on the inside. I think it's because I'm pretty quick on offensive guards and it really gives me the advantage to really set me apart from other defensive linemen here," he said.

Buckner added: "I think it's just a mental thing being inside and closer. I'm right there. I feel like I'm more athletic than an O-lineman. I really feel like I can use whatever I have in my arsenal to beat them."

It's that dynamic that might make him the best defensive lineman in the draft.

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