No. 2: 49ers Defensive Tackle Javon Kinlaw
There’s always a lot of pressure on first-round NFL Draft picks to deliver right away, especially when that player is being asked to replace a Pro Bowler.
That’s the case for defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw in the wake of former Niners defensive tackle DeForest Buckner’s offseason trade. And while Kinlaw had some tough goings early against left guard Laken Tomlinson, the rookie is still earning rave reviews from his teammates.
“He’s a very big guy, a lot harder to move,” the versatile offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill said of Kinlaw on Monday, via the San Jose Mercury News‘ Cam Inman. “There’s a few times I’ve gone versus him in pass pro and it’s like hitting a wall. He’s a massive human and is going to be a heck of a player for us.”
The 49ers appeared comfortable working Kinlaw with the first-team unit along with fellow linemen Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, and the rookie managed to win a number of one-on-one matchup after initially getting shut down by Tomlinson.
Kinlaw’s size and prowess are going to be aspects the Niners hope develop into the kind of force capable of replacing Buckner’s exceptional on-field abilities.
Hopefully sooner than later.