Thanks to Michael Bennett and DeForest Buckner, the Seahawks-49ers rivalry seems to be a little more cordial these days.
It could be because it really hasn’t been a rivalry since Richard Sherman blasted Michael Crabtree after the 2013 NFC championship game.
Bennett and Buckner don’t oppose each other on plays from scrimmage. Still, they’ve been playing nice during the offseason working out together in Hawaii.
The Seahawks’ defensive end has been so impressed with the 49ers’ second-year defensive lineman that he says Buckner could be the league’s best defensive player one of these years.
“I think DeForest will eventually be a defensive player of the year,” Bennett told KHON-TV. “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 was the seventh overall pick of the 2016 draft. He shared the 49ers’ team lead with six sacks in his rookie season. He also played 1,006 snaps. That’s more than twice the snap count of any other defensive lineman on the team. The 49ers plan to lighten his load this year.
The 31-year-old Bennett, undrafted by the Buccaneers in 2009, has made two Pro Bowls with the Seahawks and won a Super Bowl ring in 2013. This is the second year in a row that he’s trained with Buckner in the offseason, so he knows what he’s talking about when he says that the kid is defensive MVP material.