Buckner returns to Cardinals as DL coach


Brentson Buckner, who served as defensive line coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 2013-17, is back in that same position with the organization, which added four new assistants Wednesday.

The other assistants hired to head coach Kliff Kingsbury's staff were former tight end Jim Dray as offensive quality control coach, Mark Naylor as assistant strength and conditioning coach and Derius Swinton as assistant special teams coach.

Other developments involving staff promotions included: Spencer Whipple, named assistant wide receivers coach; Charlie Bullen, outside linebackers coach; and Don Shumpert offensive assistant.

Buckner, 48, is replacing Chris Achuff, who was fired in December. Buckner recently coached the defensive line for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2018) and Oakland Raiders (2019) and after his five-season stint with the Cardinals, who recorded 203 sacks during his tenure, which tied for the seventh most in the NFL. In 2016, Arizona led the league with 48 sacks, the third-highest single-season mark in franchise history, under his guidance.

In Buckner's five seasons with the Cardinals, the team ranked second in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (93.8), third in yards allowed (324.7), fourth in rushing average allowed (3.81), sixth in points allowed per game (20.7) and eighth in passing yards allowed per game (230.9). Among his players during that time were Calais Campbell, Corey Peters, Rodney Gunter and Josh Mauro.

Buckner played collegiately at Clemson, where he finished as the Tigers' third all-time leader in sacks. He was a second-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1994 NFL Draft. Buckner played 174 career games, with 127 starts, in his 12-year career, spending time with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1994-96), the Cincinnati Bengals (1997), the San Francisco 49ers (1998-2000) and the Carolina Panthers (2001-05). He played in Super Bowl XXX with Pittsburgh and Super Bowl XXXVIII with Carolina.

Dray, who was a seventh-round draft choice by the Cardinals in 2010, played four seasons with the team. Last season, he was a member of Freddie Kitchens' staff with the Cleveland Browns as an assistant coach.

Swinton, who has 10 seasons of NFL coaching experience, including as special teams coordinator of the 49ers in 2016, was a coaching intern during Cardinals' training camp in 2019.

Naylor has previously coached at Eastern Kentucky, Michigan and with the Baltimore Ravens.

--Field Level Media

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