The San Francisco 49ers redshirted their 2018 fourth-round NFL Draft pick, defensive tackle Kentavius Street. Yet he could factor into an important role along the Niners’ defensive line this season if he’s fully healthy.
One could look at the San Francisco 49ers‘ fourth-round 2018 NFL Draft selection of former NC State defensive tackle Kentavius Street as a mistake. After all, Street tore his ACL during pro-day workouts, and the pick certainly reminded many a Niners fan of the multiple “All-ACL team” picks made by San Francisco’s former general manager, Trent Baalke.
The 2018 49ers hope Street’s story will be different than the many injured players drafted, previously, though.
After all, Street boasts some awfully incredible strengths and a dynamic skill set poised to make him a valuable backup amid an already deep defensive line heading into 2019.
Street wasn’t much of a sack specialist in college, although he surely was a pretty massive disruptor up front.
|*2014||North Carolina State||ACC||FR||DE||11||9||13||22||1.0||0.0||1||0||0|
|*2015||North Carolina State||ACC||SO||DT||11||10||20||30||2.5||0.0||2||1||1|
|*2016||North Carolina State||ACC||JR||DE||12||13||17||30||9.0||5.5||1||1||0|
|*2017||North Carolina State||ACC||SR||DE||12||16||22||38||6.5||2.5||1||2||1|
|Career||North Carolina State||48||72||120||19.0||8.0||5||4||2|
His 6-foot-2, 287-pound frame screams strength. And the ability to line up almost anywhere along the defensive line only adds to his versatility.
That said, Street is no shoo-in to make San Francisco’s 53-man roster this season, which means he’ll have to show some serious improvement between now and Week 1.
Why Kentavius Street Improves in 2019
Street might not be a quality pass-rusher at the NFL level, and this wasn’t his strength in college either. As a run stopper, though, Street was very successful and used his strength to simply overpower weaker, less-polished blockers up front.
That strength was showcased in a video featuring Street squatting 700 pounds.
If leverage is a key factor, Street wins here, too. His pad level is always low, and he has little trouble getting underneath blockers.
Combined with that strength, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Street lock up multiple blockers, allowing the 49ers’ other pass-rushers to take advantage.
Why Kentavius Street Regresses
Recovering from ACL injuries can be a weird thing. Without diving too deeply into the medical aspect of things — most of us aren’t experts here — it’s not uncommon for players, especially on the bigger side, to never be the same after suffering such a setback.
It’s anyone’s guess whether or not Street’s ACL tear winds up following this same route. But spending nearly a full year in recovery meant he was forced to focus more on his rehab than the nuances of handling NFL-level defensive responsibilities.
That could set Street back in his development, too.
Street also isn’t the fastest of defenders, having run just a shade under five seconds at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. That’s not bad, per se. But with a lack of good pass-rushing moves, he’s essentially relying on his power only. This might not totally cut it within pro ranks.
Chances of Making the 49ers’ 53-Man Roster in 2019
San Francisco will likely keep between eight or nine defensive linemen in 2019. Five of these are former/current first-round NFL Draft picks: DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, Dee Ford and Nick Bosa.
Street will likely have to beat out one or two of these probable backups, as well as the multitude of other defensive linemen in the depth mix this camp.
Considering the Niners used a fourth-round pick on Street, there’s a good chance they’ll let him take time to showcase his abilities.
With that in mind, Street is still on the roster bubble. But it’s safe to assume he’s on the stronger side of things.