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49ers pick Buckner in first round of NFL Draft

Curtis MurayamaDave Reardon
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CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

Punahou alum and Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the seventh pick of the NFL Draft today. Buckner is pictured getting the call at his draft party at Da Crawfish and Crab Shack in Kapolei. His mother, Maria, watches from behind.

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CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

Punahou alum and Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the seventh pick of the NFL Draft today. Family, friends and supporters took photos and cheered during the announcement at Buckner’s draft party in Kapolei.

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CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

University of Oregon’s DeForest Buckner, a Hawaii resident, poses for a picture at his NFL Draft party in Kapolei.

As the seventh overall pick of the NFL Draft joining the San Francisco 49ers, DeForest Buckner is reunited with coaches and a teammate and friend from college at Oregon.

Defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro, who recruited Buckner to Eugene out of Punahou, is now the d-line coach for the 49ers on the staff of Chip Kelly.

Kelly was the Oregon head coach before leaving for the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL in 2012 after Buckner’s freshman year. He was hired to be the 49ers coach after he was fired by the Eagles at the end of last season.

Also, second-year 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead played with Buckner at Oregon.

“I was training at the same facility as Arik and we were talking about ‘What if …,’” Buckner said.

A gathering of about 250 friends and family erupted in applause at Da Crawfish and Crab Shack in Kapolei as Buckner was chosen by one of Hawaii’s favorite NFL teams.

The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year was called by Kelly before the pick was announced. “This is going to be fun,” Buckner said. “(Kelly said) ‘We’re going to be reunited.’”

Buckner, a four-year starter noted for his versatility along the defensive front, said he and Armstead (a first-round pick last year) had stayed in touch throughout the draft process.

The 6-foot-7, 290-pound Buckner said he will fly out Friday and report to the 49ers’ rookie and free agent minicamp next week.

He is the second high-first-round pick in two years from Hawaii (and who played college football at Oregon). Saint Louis School graduate Marcus Mariota, the Ducks quarterback and Buckner’s teammate who won the Heisman Trophy in 2014, was the second overall pick in 2015, by the Tennessee Titans.

Buckner becomes the second-highest NFL Draft selection of a player from a Hawaii high school. Al Harris from Leilehua, also a defensive lineman, was chosen ninth by the Chicago Bears out of Arizona State in 1979.

All 31 of today’s draftees became instant millionaires.

The seventh overall pick of last year’s draft, wide receiver Kevin White of the Chicago Bears, signed for $16.56 million over four years with a $10.3 million signing bonus.

The draft started with the Los Angeles Rams picking quarterback Jared Goff from Cal. Then the Philadelphia Eagles took quarterback Carson Wentz from North Dakota State.

The San Diego Chargers picked a defensive lineman with the third choice, but it was Joey Bosa of Ohio State. With the next selection at No. 4, Bosa’s teammate on the Buckeyes, running back Ezekiel Elliot, was taken by the Dallas Cowboys. Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey then went to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Notre Dame offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley’s selection by the Baltimore Ravens came next at No. 6.

The crowd at Buckner’s draft party then began to cheer when it realized Buckner was on the phone with the 49ers. After he got off the phone he got up to hug some relatives. Then the official announcement came on NFL Network and ESPN.

The 49ers have had several players from Hawaii over the years, most notably four-time Super Bowl winner Jesse Sapolu and tight end Russ Francis. Jeff Ulbrich and Dana McLemore are University of Hawaii standouts who were also 49ers.

“My cousins already have the (49ers) flag out,” Buckner said. “I’m happy.”

Boise State outside linebacker Kamalei Correa, of Honolulu and Saint Louis School, was expected to be picked sometime in the first three rounds.

The first round of the draft is today, the second and third rounds are Friday, and rounds four through seven on Saturday complete the draft.

12 responses to “49ers pick Buckner in first round of NFL Draft”

  1. den says:

    Myles Jack needs microfracture surgery.

  2. paniolo says:

    Congratulations, DeForest. Can’t wait to see you playing this coming season. Go get ’em.

  3. 808comp says:

    Glad he didn’t go to Dallas.

  4. popolo says:

    best wishes DeForest I can cheer for the 49er’s again

  5. nippy68 says:

    Now just prove yourself you belong in the nfl… Good luck !

  6. inverse says:

    Wow, 6’7″, 290 lbs and he grad from Obama private school then Oregon university. Big guy. Noticing all of the Hawaii kids making it to the NFL all grad from private school then mainland college. No public school or UH grads. Hope one day that changes but not anytime soon. Too bad Frasier played hardball with JJ right after the Sugarbowl appearance and did not allow JJ to continue on with UH for a few more years. Rolo might have the heart but that probably is not enough to turn things around anytime soon.

  7. lno_2 says:

    Yay! Congrats DeForest! So proud of you.

  8. jimbone says:

    GO D-Buck

  9. Senior_Researcher says:

    You go, DeFo!

    The article’s authors? Not so much. According to dem, DeFo was picked seven overall. Den, dey say:

    “Buckner becomes the second-highest NFL Draft selection of a player from a Hawaii high school. Al Harris from Leilehua, also a defensive lineman, was chosen ninth by the Chicago Bears out of Arizona State in 1979.”

    If DeFo wen 7, and Harris wen 9, who da first highest, da most-highest? Manti? Why not say so instead of telling us numba tree (Harris)?

    I no get.

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