No. 1: Defensive Tackle Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
First-round draft prospects always receive a lot of attention, especially if they’re selected in the first half of Round 1.
More from SF 49ers News
- DraftKings NFL Draft Promo – Win $150 Guaranteed on Any $5 Bet
- Updated 49ers salary cap space ahead of 2023 NFL Draft
- Deebo Samuel fully admits his hatred of LA Rams
- Brock Purdy jokingly says he’s learning to throw left-handed
- 49ers news: Trey Lance is in the dark regarding trade talk
But that’s not the only reason to watch and expect big things from Javon Kinlaw in training camp.
Kinlaw has some awfully big shoes to fill. To have a chance at drafting him, the 49ers had to trade away one of the team’s cornerstones, Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, to the Indianapolis Colts for the No. 13 overall pick. Moving down a spot on draft day, the Niners subsequently grabbed Kinlaw to replace Buckner as the prime 3-technique along a still-stacked defensive line.
The pressure and how Kinlaw responds to it will be noteworthy. On top of that, however, San Francisco needs Kinlaw to be the disruptive force he was during his college days. An interior pass rush would be great, as that was an element Buckner offered. But it would be just as beneficial if Kinlaw locks up multiple blockers, freeing up the Niners’ other pass-rushers to get home.
Those early reps against a veteran 49ers offensive line will be crucial in determining whether or not Kinlaw has what it takes to succeed here.