SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers drafted two defensive linemen, DeForest Buckner and Ronald Blair, with eye-catching college stats. Perhaps just as important on a Chip Kelly-led team, both also have eye-catching stamina.
Buckner was on the field for 951 snaps last season, which according to Pro Football Focus, was tops among interior defensive lineman in the nation. He took even more, 972 snaps, the year prior.
Blair, meanwhile, started 51 games at Appalachian State. He had 669 defensive snaps in 2015 and 616 last season.
That endurance caught 49ers general manager Trent Baalke's eye before the draft. "You look at most of these guys coming out, d-linemen, they play 50, 60 percent of the snaps," he said. "DeForest the last two years has played plus-80 (percent)."
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It's true. Buckner played 78.1 percent of his team's defensive snaps in 2014, per PFF, and 85.5 percent of the snaps last season. That includes playing 101 of 104 possible snaps in the Alamo Bowl in January. Blair played 80.6 percent of Appalachian State's defensive snaps in 2014 and 68 percent of the plays last year.
College players, of course, play fewer games. But the rookies' college play totals hold up well when compared to those of NFL players.
The snap-count winner among 49ers defensive lineman last year was Ian Williams. He played 659 snaps (57.8 percent). Over the last five seasons, the single-season snap-count champion among 49ers defensive linemen was Ray McDonald. He played 962 (90.8 percent) regular-season snaps in 2012.
The 49ers would like Buckner and Blair to become part of a rotation that includes Arik Armstead, Quinton Dial -- and when they're healthy -- Williams and Glenn Dorsey among others.
All of them could end up logging significant play time.
The year before Kelly became their head coach, for instance, the Eagles defense played 994 snaps, the sixth lowest in the league. After Kelly, whose fast-paced offense is seldom on the field for long, took over in 2013, that number jumped to a league-high 1,150 snaps.
That's a difference of three games worth of snaps. Philadelphia finished with more than 1,100 snaps in 2014 and 2015 as well.
The 49ers have made it clear that it will up to the defense, not the offense, to minimize its own snaps this year.
"One of the criticisms has been (about) the defense and ‘they’re on the field too much,’” Baalke said on KNBR radio last week. “And like Bow (NaVorro Bowman) said -- and I agree with him; we kind of laughed -- if you’re a defensive player, you want to be on the field. What you have to be able to do is get off the field on third down. And if you can get off the field on third down, you can play dang good defense in the National Football League.”