Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Baldinger impressed with 49ers rookie defensive lineman Kevin Givens

Aug 21, 2019 at 8:25 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers suddenly find themselves with a whole lot of depth along the defensive line. "Suddenly" might not be the appropriate word. The team has, after all, invested a lot in recent years to the defensive front.

San Francisco traded a second-round pick in next year's draft to acquire pass rusher Dee Ford, a former first-rounder. The team used its top selection in this year's draft, the No. 2 overall pick, on another pass rusher, Nick Bosa. Before that, the 49ers used first-round selections to add Solomon Thomas, DeForest Buckner, and Arik Armstead.

That's a lot of first-round picks making up that defensive front.

When NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger examined the film from Monday night's win against the Denver Broncos, it wasn't any of the names above that stood out to him. Okay, all but two of those players didn't suit up in the preseason matchup. Still, the defensive lineman who did stand out to Baldinger was a player you might not have even remembered was on the roster — Kevin Givens.

Givens was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State on May 3. He finished his collegiate career with the Nittany Lions having registered 83 total tackles, 22 for a loss, and 13.5 sacks.

Baldinger loved what he saw out of Givens against the Broncos and praised the 22-year-old defender in a recent breakdown of his film.

"Their best defensive lineman last night is an undrafted free agent named Kevin Givens out of Penn State," Baldinger said. "He just kept showing up […] He has got a penetrating style that is just disruptive. They've been looking for that forever."

Added Baldinger, "He played 37 snaps [on Monday] night, and he's a disruptive guy […] When you watch him play, he just has this ability in a short space, in a phone booth to make you miss. There's no drill at the combine that can measure Kevin Givens. That's why he [was an undrafted free agent]. He's undersized. He did play 39 straight games at Penn State, starting a bunch of them, never injured. The guy is relentless."

Baldinger feels Givens has the best burst off the line of any 49ers defensive lineman. Of course, he notes that he can't compare him side-by-side with pass rushers Dee Ford or Nick Bosa because they haven't made their San Francisco debut yet.

"This guy is going to make somebody's roster, and it might be the 49ers," Baldinger added.

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