Javon Kinlaw oozes talent. On the second play of the preseason game, he spins off a double-team block to assist for a tackle. This was after holding his ground and letting linebacker Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles behind him run untouched to the ball carrier.
Kinlaw finished the evening with a sack, a pressure, a run stop, and a few other plays, as I described above. Kinlaw isn’t playing for a roster spot or playing time. He’s playing himself into shape, which is why you’re seeing him on the field so much during the first two games.
Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans spoke about what he saw from Kinlaw and where the third-year pro has to continue improving:
“He had a nice inside move there to be able to counter with the guard oversetting him, so it was just good to see him just being instinctive, reacting and finishing and making a big play for us.
So he just continues to improve each week that he’s been out there from his first week to last week. I saw major improvements with his pad level in the run game. And also just his effectiveness of affecting the quarterback. He was there in the quarterback’s lap. I was proud of what he’s done, and he’s still getting better.
So it’s going to be great to see where he ends up by the end of the year when he continues to build all of those reps and how much better he can be. It’s going to be cool to see.”
Ryans giving Kinlaw praise for his pad level should bring a smile to Kinlaw’s face. Whenever the staff talks about Kinlaw, usually unprompted, they talk about wanting him to play lower. It shouldn’t be difficult to get Kinlaw to do so. When he plays low, he wins, and it’s usually convincing.
Losing D.J. Jones is a blow few teams would be able to withstand, but the 49ers are replacing him with a top-15 pick who is motivated. It’ll be interesting to see how the defense protects Kinlaw from himself.
There are nearly a dozen capable bodies the team can throw at you on the defensive line. Because of this, Kinlaw won’t have to play 70% of the snaps out of the gate.
We threw this out on Twitter. Which player has more sacks this season, Kinlaw, or rookie Drake Jackson?
Who has more sacks in 2022?
This poll is closed
Both are coming off impressive preseason performances. Some would argue it’s easier for edge rushers to get sacks. Kinlaw might be the beneficiary of quarterbacks running into him as they have to climb the pocket away from Nick Bosa.