The San Francisco 49ers selected Javon Kinlaw with their first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to replace DeForest Buckner. The expectations for Kinlaw as a first-year player were always going to be unfair. It didn’t help that Kinlaw didn’t notch a sack until Week 10.
That undermines how well Kinlaw played against the run, but he wasn’t drafted No. 14 overall to be a run-stopping defensive tackle. The Pro Football Writers of America released their All-Rookie teams on both sides of the ball, and Kinlaw was listed at defensive tackle along with Carolina Panthers DT Derrick Brown.
I voted for Kinlaw. I also voted for Brandon Aiyuk over Chase Claypool, who was named to PFWA’s offensive team. Claypool has a great season as he caught 63 passes for 873 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had his fair share of quiet games and played in an offense where all they do is throw the ball. Claypool had six games where he was targeted at least nine times.
Aiyuk had five games where he was targeted nine times, but he did so with a backup quarterback, and oftentimes Aiyuk was the only threat for the 49ers passing game. Aiyuk finishing with 748 yards in his situation was more impressive to me than what Claypool did, though I wouldn’t fault anybody who voted for the Steelers rookie wideout.