Why Javon Kinlaw improves for 49ers in 2022
In short, there couldn’t be much better context for a bounce-back season from Javon Kinlaw this year.
At any rate, it’d be hard to match last year’s frustration in which he was shut down after playing just four games with those knee issues.
Merely playing more will be a massive uptick over last year’s efforts, and Kinlaw won’t have to be playing on a shorthanded defensive line either, especially with Pro Bowl EDGE Nick Bosa looking to pick up where he left off during his 15.5-sack 2021 campaign.
Yet the bigger impact might be felt by what the 49ers did midway through last season, moving defensive lineman Arik Armstead inside on a full-time basis. This was partially a response to the Niners losing Kinlaw, but the D-line took notable strides forward once Armstead changed over from defensive end.
This formidable one-two punch could easily afford Kinlaw the favorable opportunities San Francisco originally envisioned when it grabbed the 6-foot-5, 319-pound lineman. And while the sacks may not come at a torrid pace, Kinlaw’s sheer ability to collapse pockets may be the difference-maker that fully unlocks the 49ers’ D-line’s potential.