Ranking the 49ers' last 10 first-round draft picks from worst to best

A ranking of the last 10 San Francisco 49ers' first-round draft selections from worst to best.
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Javon Kinlaw
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No. 7: DL Javon Kinlaw (2020)

The 49ers selected defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw in the 2020 NFL Draft as a replacement for their star defensive lineman, DeForest Buckner, whom they traded away in the offseason ostensibly to save money.

Kinlaw did not end up being Buckner 2.0.

He had a decent rookie campaign in which he started 12 games and had 1.5 sacks with 33 tackles and even a pick-six. It was by no means phenomenal, but in the strange Covid year it seemed like he could blossom in year two.

Unfortunately, injuries limited Kinlaw to just four games in 2021. Then, 2022 saw him limited to just six regular-season games while also playing in the postseason. Because of his injuries, the 49ers declined his fifth-year option ahead of 2023, which meant he would be a free agent after the season.

Kinlaw had his best season as a Niner in 2023. He played in all 17 games and recorded 3.5 sacks along with 25 tackles. He played quite a bit due to injuries to Arik Armstead and finally looked closer to the version of himself the 49ers hoped they had drafted.

He ended up being signed by the New York Jets in the offseason, though, so we will see if he can build upon his solid 2023. However, his Niner career will be characterized by disappointment especially since he was supposed to replace Buckner.

The next pick we will take a look at is another defensive lineman who did not live up to expectations.