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Javon Kinlaw was the third-highest graded first-rounder in Week 1

The 49ers top draft pick got off to a good start against the Cardinals

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Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

We only were able to see one of the San Francisco 49ers two first round picks on Sunday, but Javon Kinlaw made an impression. Pro Football Focus graded him as the third-highest first rounder from Week 1:


2020 overall grade: 81.4

Javon Kinlaw was drafted to replace the DeForest Buckner‘s production after he was traded away to Indianapolis. Given the standard Buckner had set in the Bay Area, that seemed optimistic, but Kinlaw’s debut did not disappoint. Kinlaw had one of the highest PFF grades on the team, notching a pair of pressures to go along with some excellent run defense against Arizona’s wide offensive line splits. Following Buckner is a hard act, but Kinlaw may well be up to the task.

It’d be nice to rewatch the game, but NFL Gamepass has yet to release the film for whatever reason. Thursday’s game between the Chiefs and the Texans is still not available. All I want to do is watch Trent Williams and Kinlaw. I’m curious to see how Kinlaw played outside of the two series midway through the game where he made an impact. Going off memory, I agree that Kinlaw was fantastic against the run and made a difference.

It isn’t easy, especially for a rookie defensive lineman, to come in and immediately make an impact. Nick Bosa is not like most rookies. Shoot, he’s not like most players. Kinlaw rag-dolled a few Cardinals interior linemen, which was promising. If Kinlaw had hit or sacked Kyler Murray, I would have been over the moon.

I’m looking forward to seeing him progress as a player and would expect Kinlaw to start making plays as a pass rusher, especially with the next three offensive lines the 49ers face. Kinlaw was the second-best defensive linemen for the 49ers on Sunday. That’s not what the plan was coming into the season.