Michael Bennett: DeForest Buckner will eventually be defensive player of the year

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The Seahawks’ rivalry with the 49ers has dimmed in recent years, but Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett thinks the Niners have a player who can help refuel things on their side in the future.

Bennett has spent time working out in Hawaii with several players this offseason, including 49ers defensive lineman DeForest Buckner. Buckner, the seventh overall pick in the 2016 draft, has made a strong impression on Bennett.

“I think DeForest, I’m lucky to be working with a guy like that.” Bennett said, via KHON. “I think DeForest will eventually be a defensive player of the year. I think he has the talent to be able to do that. I keep telling him there’s nobody like him. He’s not normal. His physique, his speed, it’s not normal so when you’re not normal you can do not normal things and winning the defensive MVP is not normal for most people.”

Buckner said Bennett’s prediction “gives me a lot of confidence” and that it motivates him to work harder as he heads into his second pro season.

The 49ers liked Buckner’s play enough to keep him on the field for more than 1,000 snaps last season, although their new coaching staff plans to cut back on that number after Buckner admitted to being “dead tired” at points in 2016. The hope is that will make Buckner more productive over the course of the season, which would be a plus for the 49ers even if he doesn’t land the hardware that Bennett believes will come his way one day.