DeForest Buckner has quickly earned the respect of a division rival.

After being one of the San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman’s workout partners for the past two years, Seattle Seahawks veteran Michael Bennett thinks the sky’s the limit for Buckner as he enters his second season.

“DeForest, I’m lucky to be working with a guy like that,” Bennett told Sam Spangler of KHON2 on Tuesday. “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.”

The 49ers’ surplus of defensive-line talent caused many to wonder whether they would trade one of their recent first-round picks in order to bolster the roster as a whole.

Hanging on to both Buckner and Arik Armstead, despite the fact the new management regime doesn’t have ties to either, seems to indicate that both remain key parts of the franchise’s plan.

Buckner started all 15 appearances after joining the 49ers as the No. 7 overall pick in last year’s draft, recording 73 tackles and tying for a team high with six sacks.

He and Armstead, the No. 17 overall pick in 2015, are now joined by first-round rookie Solomon Thomas. The versatile trio will be counted on to lead the way in a much-needed turnaround on the defensive side of the ball.

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