SF 49ers: 4 pass-rushers who must perform better with Nick Bosa out
By Peter Panacy
No. 3: SF 49ers Defensive Tackle Javon Kinlaw
The SF 49ers’ first pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, didn’t get the start in Week 1. That role went to Solomon Thomas. But when Kinlaw got on the field in Week 1, he made a solid enough impression to suggest he’s worth starting for the rest of the year.
Now, the Niners essentially have no other choice.
Kinlaw is projected to provide even more an interioir pass-rushing presence in the wake of San Francisco trading away Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner during the offseason. In college, Kinlaw primarily relied upon his brute strength and needed some refinement in his pass-rushing moves.
With Bosa out and the 49ers’ edge-rushing capabilities greatly diminished, the interior pass rush will now be a primary weapon for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.
So, if there is ever a time for Kinlaw to live up to his Round 1 draft status, it’s now.
Fortunately, Kinlaw’s early efforts in 2020 suggest he can be an excellent role player for the Niners defense. That’s a good sign, of course, but San Francisco will need him to be even more over the rest of the year.