SF 49ers: Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw dominating new-look defensive line

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Javon Kinlaw, SF 49ers

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (99) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The SF 49ers made some big decisions last offseason, which placed emphasis on Arik Armstead and the rookie, Javon Kinlaw.

SF 49ers general manager John Lynch had to make some decisions, this past offseason.

Lynch nailed the four key decisions he had to make.

Firstly, trading Pro Bowl defensive DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts to get the 13th overall pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Yes, it was sad to see Buckner leave, however, this meant Lynch could go ahead and make his second key decision this offseason.

Buckner was wanting money the SF 49ers couldn’t afford to pay him, unfortunately.

This led to Lynch deciding to trade Buckner and to re-signing his former college and NFL teammate, defensive end Arik Armstead, who played with Buckner at Oregon, to a five-year extension worth $85 million with $34,150,000 being fully guaranteed.

The next decision Lynch had to make was how could he replace Buckner with a player who could eventually replace, if not out-do Buckner’s production?

That answer, obviously, came in the form of South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.

Lynch did not hesitate to select Kinlaw with then 14th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft after the SF 49ers had made a draft-day trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which resulted in the Niners moving back one spot in the draft.

These decisions have paid off big time for Lynch.

Yes, Buckner might be leading the NFL’s No. 1 defense with the Colts. However, the Colts have played the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, and the Chicago Bears, and their respective offenses aren’t exactly turning heads across the league. I would expect them to take a few steps back when they face more powerful and dangerous offenses.

Lynch sacrificed Buckner, a star, for another star, Armstead, and a potential star in Kinlaw. The GM kept depth along the defensive line, and those decisions are paying dividends now with the SF 49ers defensive line still possessing a star at defensive end and defensive tackle.

With the shortened offseason and the number of injuries, not just with the SF 49ers but across the league, Lynch’s decision to go with depth could not have been more perfect.

The SF 49ers defensive line definitely has a new look, but it’s still a dominant unit, as these three plays outline. Headlined by the headline makers, Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw.

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