Are you ready for another year in which a Hawaii player gets selected in the first round of the NFL Draft?
Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, a 2012 Punahou graduate, is ranked 23rd overall in ESPN analyst and NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper’s “Big Board” list of top 25 players for the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft.
Just last month, former Oregon and Saint Louis quarterback Marcus Mariota was selected second overall in the NFL Draft.
Hawaii has never produced first-round draft picks in back-to-back years.
Buckner, a 6-foot-7, 290-pounder, was a two-sport star at Punahou and was named the Star-Advertiser’s Player of the Year in basketball his senior year.
Buckner, who decided to return to Oregon for his senior year, outplayed fellow Oregon D-lineman Arik Armstead, who was drafted 17th overall in the first round by the San Francisco 49ers. Buckner led the team in tackles for loss and led the linemen with 81 tackles, 36 unassisted.
The top player on Kiper’s Big Board is defensive lineman Joey Bosa of national champion Ohio State, which had five players listed among the top 25. Ole Miss was next with four overall, including two of the top four and three of the top seven.