Why Javon Kinlaw regresses with 49ers in 2020
As much as one would like to bump Kinlaw up the hype chart, it’s important to note no rookie is perfect. Kinlaw is no exception.
One of the things that could ultimately set Kinlaw back a bit right out of the gate is how wild he can get. This was another element showing up on tape, and his violence at the line of scrimmage isn’t always controlled. Should a blocker wind up diverting him away from the pocket, there aren’t too many refined techniques Kinlaw has showcased to allow him to recover quickly enough.
This won’t sit well considering his role as an anchor point in the middle of San Francisco’s defense, and it’s one of the main differences setting Kinlaw apart from DeForest Buckner’s abilities, even early in the latter’s career.
Kinlaw’s efforts, despite his motor, can wane a bit late in games, too.
But perhaps the biggest concern for Kinlaw, if not for his rookie season but potentially over the course of his career, is tendinitis in his knees. This could have forced Kinlaw’s stock to drop out of the top 10 in the NFL Draft.
Yet there’s hope it’s not a major problem.
“There are athletes all the time, throughout the season, that are dealing with these issues,” Dr. Michael Banffy, an orthopedic surgeon in Los Angeles, told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch not long after the draft. “I would say 90 percent of the time it’s totally manageable and people don’t have to do anything drastic about this.”
Hopefully that’s the case here, particularly if Kinlaw is expected to play a high number of snaps early in his career.
But if there are physical setbacks in year one, this issue could be a prime reason why.