49ers breakout player No. 3: DT Javon Kinlaw
Much like Tarvarius Moore, the 49ers better be hoping they start receiving some notable returns on another NFL Draft investment, defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.
Except in Kinlaw’s case, it’s much more magnified.
The 2020 first-round pick hasn’t exactly lived up to his draft status the last two seasons, showing some modest promise his rookie year before being sidelined with a season-ending knee injury after just four games in 2021.
Needless to say, year three is going to be vital towards determining whether or not the Niners have a cornerstone player here.
Also like Moore, the context is good here. San Francisco had to bid farewell to nose tackle D.J. Jones during the offseason, opening up the door for Kinlaw to assume a much greater role as a full-time starter and not just a rotational player who’d come off the field in frequent situations.
Plus, with regards to his injury concerns, Kinlaw is reportedly the healthiest he’s felt in his playing career, his knee issues apparently corrected.
That’s important, as the 49ers will need him to play a massive part of their interior defensive line.
If he finally thrives in this role, doing so fully healthy, 2022 could end up being that breakout campaign he desperately needs to have.