SF 49ers: 5 young players fans should be excited about in 2021
By Peter Panacy
No. 3: SF 49ers Defensive Tackle Javon Kinlaw
If one was to look solely at the stats alone, it might be easy to draw the conclusion the SF 49ers didn’t get anything they truly wanted out of their first-round NFL Draft pick from 2020, defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.
After all, Kinlaw’s 33 tackles and 1.5 sacks don’t suggest a massive impact. Especially not in the wake of the Niners trading away their Pro Bowl defensive tackle, DeForest Buckner, the previous offseason.
But Kinlaw wasn’t going to be a Buckner-like player in year one. And with so many other key injuries along San Francisco’s defensive line, Kinlaw essentially emerged as its best defender and often drew multiple blockers on a regular basis because of this.
Getting other players back healthy is going to be a massive boost to Kinlaw’s efforts in 2021. In addition to that, Kinlaw showed a sharp progression of improvement as the season moved along.
That kind of trajectory is what’s needing to be seen, and there’s every reason to believe Kinlaw takes that next massive step as a pocket-wrecking force in year two.