Javon Kinlaw

Javon Kinlaw NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds & Analysis For 2020 Season

Written by on June 16, 2020

The San Francisco 49ers moved down one spot in the first round of the NFL Draft and still got their guy at No. 14 overall: South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw. Here are Kinlaw’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year as well as the 49ers’ over/under win total.

The Niners had a big need on the defensive front after trading Pro Bowl tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the 13th overall pick in the draft. The 49ers originally selected Buckner (6-7, 295) in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. Buckner started all 63 games in which he appeared throughout his four-year career, tallying 276 tackles, 28.5 sacks, 10 passes defensed, seven fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles.

In the draft, the Tampa Bay Bucs traded up with the 49ers for the 13th pick and took Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs.  The Niners also gave the Bucs a seventh rounder (245) and got back the 14th and 117th overall picks.

Kinlaw spent part of his childhood homeless in Washington, D.C. after immigrating from Trinidad and Tobago with his mother and two siblings. He played one year at Jones County Junior College in 2016 prior to attending the University of South Carolina. In his first season with the Gamecocks in 2017, Kinlaw dropped roughly 40 pounds after his arrival. He played in all 13 games making 10 starts. He was credited with 20 tackles including 2.0 tackles for loss. He also broke up three passes, recovered two fumbles, forced one fumble and blocked a kick.

The next season, Kinlaw was the Gamecocks’ top interior defensive lineman. He started all 12 games during the regular season and shared the Joe Morrison Award, which goes to the MVP of the defense, with T.J. Brunson. Kinlaw was credited with 38 tackles including 10.0 tackles for loss and a team-high 4.5 sacks. He logged five pass breakups and three quarterback hurries.

Last year, Kinlaw was an All-American and first-team All-SEC – he became the 25th first-team All-American in South Carolina football history. Kinlaw notched 35 tackles and 6.0 sacks, tying for eighth in the SEC. He added four quarterback hurries, two pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one blocked kick.

Overall, he appeared in 37 games over three seasons, making 34 starts. He was credited with 18.0 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks and forced three fumbles and recovered four fumbles. He deflected 10 passes and logged seven quarterback hurries with three blocked kicks.

Kinlaw was so dominant in Mobile, Alabama, ahead of the Senior Bowl and on tape that the Niners weren’t convinced he would be available when they made their first pick. In the run-up to the draft, Kinlaw was asked for his ideal landing spot. Even though San Francisco didn’t have a top-10 pick, Kinlaw still picked the 49ers.

“[He] is going to really be a perfect 3-technique for us and the way that we play,” Niners linebacker Dre Greenlaw said. “I think the way that [Nick] Bosa came and really showed his talent, I think Kinlaw can do the same thing and very well be the Defensive Rookie of the Year. I think he has that potential.”

Kinlaw was the highest picked Gamecock since Jadeveon Clowney went first overall in 2014. His length, strength, and burst make him a potential interior disruptor in the NFL, both as a pass-rusher and run-defender. NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein compared him to the Rams’ Michael Brockers, making note of his “heavy, violent hands” and “explosive first step” as positive traits.

“Just a physical presence,” Kinlaw told 49ers reporters about what he adds. “Another physical, dominating presence attached with three more? You can’t ask for nothing better than that. I feel like I can come in and play a vital role.”