The San Francisco 49ers had a whirlwind of an offseason. General manager John Lynch was a busy man, trading for All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, moving up to select receiver Brandon Aiyuk and dealing Pro Bowl defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts.
San Francisco didn’t wait long to find its replacement for Buckner, selecting South Carolina product Javon Kinlaw with the 14th pick of the draft.
ESPN’s Matt Bowen thinks Kinlaw landed with the perfect team for his skill set, putting the 22-year-old on his list of 10 rookies who ended up in the ideal situation.
Here is what Bowen had to say:
“In a defense that leans on schemed front-four pressure, Kinlaw fits as an interior disruptor with the physical traits and the frame to win at the point of attack. While the South Carolina product doesn’t have the same fluid ability of veteran DeForest Buckner — whom the 49ers traded for a first-round pick — I look at Kinlaw’s combination of linear burst and power in San Francisco’s multiple fronts. That’s where defensive coordinator Robert Saleh can scheme interior one-on-ones and use twist stunts to get Kinlaw in favorable pass-rush matchups. He’s an ascending talent who can develop into an interior force, and he’s a great fit in the middle of this loaded front seven.”
Lynch alluded to Kinlaw’s size as a big factor why the 49ers were so high on him going into the draft. The Niners wanted to get bigger and beefier in the trenches, and Kinlaw certainly checks that box.
Kyle did a nice job breaking down some of Kinlaw’s strengths and weaknesses in a recent post showing that he still has plenty of room for improvement. Still, with defensive line coach Kris Kocurek’s reputation, he should be able to correct his deficiencies.
I don’t think anyone expects Kinlaw to come in and have a similar impact as Nick Bosa, but he will deal with the pressure of helping to fill the void left by Buckner, which won’t be easy.
If Kinlaw can anchor down the middle of the line and be a disruptive force, especially on running plays, it will go a long way in helping the Niners get back to the Super Bowl.
What are you expecting from Kinlaw in 2020?