The second the 49ers used the pick they acquired in the DeForest Buckner deal to draft Javon Kinlaw 14th overall last April, number 99 was always going to be under the microscope. Any player drafted at so high a price would be under scrutiny, but the fact that Kinlaw plays the same position, and wears the same number, as the fan favorite that was traded away did add fuel to the fire.
Kinlaw himself stepped into the spotlight yesterday after responding to criticism from self-described “beast writer” Ryan Sakamoto. Sakamoto was skeptical of Kinlaw back in April and took a victory lap Wednesday on Twitter. Kinlaw, in a since deleted tweet, responded:
“You my biggest inspiration. I think about you every single day. Imma show you who I am and what I’m bout slowly but surely. this ain’t no sprint it’s a marathon. They ain’t build Rome in one year.”
Former 49ers defensive tackle and future Hall of Famer Bryant Young joined the Niners Nation Gold Standard Podcast yesterday, and offered his assessment of Kinlaw.
“I think he’s had a good year. He’s been gradually getting better. He’s a different player. He’s not Aaron Donald in terms of his twitchiness and his quickness. He’s a strong player and a little bit of a strider. He’s got length and he’s really finding his niche in the game. I think each week he’s gotten better. Some players develop at a different pace than others. I think he’ll be better for having gone through a year like this, and I’m looking forward to what he’ll do in his career.”
Young also previously mentioned how defensive tackles are so often misevaluated because people focus on pressures and sacks while ignoring the other responsibilities of the position that don’t easily fill up a stat sheet.
“When you look at the balance between rushing the passer and playing the run. Playing the run probably isn’t as sexy as rushing the passer. We know that sacks are the money-makers, but you have to stop the run to rush the passer, and I think that’s just as important. Those things need to be talked about.”
We talked more about those things in the pod with Young, as well as a bunch of other topics:
- What it was like getting drafted to the Super Bowl team in 1994
- Whether Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders fought before that Super Bowl
- Could Deion and Jerry have lasted more than one year together?
- Reaching out to Alex Smith after Smith broke his leg
- What it was like coming back from his own broken leg in 1998
- And yes, whether the 49ers should keep Jimmy Garoppolo next year
Take a listen, and if you like what you hear, give us a five star rating on iTunes and a positive review. Please and thank you.