Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

DeForest Buckner on 49ers defensive lineman Kentavius Street: “He’s the strongest guy I’ve ever seen”

Aug 14, 2019 at 7:20 AM--

Jimmy Garoppolo, Jerick McKinnon, Kwon Alexander. Each of those players has something in common. They are all returning this season from ACL injuries.

There's another sometimes forgotten name to add to the list — a player who has never played an NFL snap but has potential written all over him.

Defensive lineman Kentavius Street is entering his second NFL season after the San Francisco 49ers used a fourth-round draft pick last year to acquire him. The pick itself drew scrutiny from many because it wasn't that long ago — the previous regime, in fact — that the team was drafting players year in and year out who were recovering from injury.

Street tore his ACL during a pre-draft workout with the New York Giants, which made his availability for the 2018 season unlikely. Teams with deep rosters can afford the luxury of drafting and then stashing a player for a year. That wasn't the 49ers, which were entering year two of a massive roster overhaul. Still, something was interesting about Street.

Maybe it was this video of the prospect squatting 700 pounds before his injury.

Street has the making of an intriguing defensive player, someone who can add depth to a roster that beefed-up its defensive front over the offseason.

"It's tough to wait a year to have to wait for him to play," head coach Kyle Shanahan said in December, "but we loved his college tape, and he's been working his tail off to get healthy. I think he'll be definitely in the mix [in 2019]."

One player who is impressed with the 22-year-old defensive lineman is Pro Bowl defensive tackle and teammate, DeForest Buckner, who discussed Street on Tuesday during a KNBR interview.

"When you see a guy like Street, you don't expect him to move the way he does, and he is definitely an athlete," Buckner said on the "Tolbert, Krueger, and Brooks" show. "The dude can bench the weight room. He can bench the weight room; he can squat the weight room. Honestly, he's the strongest guy I've ever seen."

Street is ready to help his teammates any way he can. He told The Athletic in May that he expects to be used along the entire defensive line, whether it be the along the interior or edges.

"That's one thing (defensive line) coach Kris (Kocurek) has been telling me this whole time — the more positions I'm able to play, the more versatile I am as a player, the more valuable I'll be," Street said. "So I'll be playing all across the line, wherever he needs me."

The second-year player went on to say he loves the idea of influencing every position across the defensive line, which will allow him to use his "full repertoire of weapons."

Street has come a long way since his injury, but Buckner knows there are still hurdles to overcome.

"Him coming off of his injury, he has to deal with that mental block of not worrying about his knee and everything, and just firing off the ball," Buckner said. "But the glimpses that you see throughout training camp of the player he can be, and is going to be, is unbelievable to see. He's just an all-around quick-twitch for how big he is, and just a strong human being."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Buckner below.

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