49ers’ Kentavius Street a ‘good, strong’ player, will get opportunity with D.J. Jones out, says John Lynch

Dec 13, 2019 at 9:12 AM--

General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan drew some criticism during last year's draft when the San Francisco 49ers selected defensive lineman Kentavius Street in the fourth round. That was because the previous general manager would frustrate the fanbase by taking chances on players coming off ACL injuries, knowing they were unlikely to contribute during their rookie NFL seasons.

That was the case with Street, who suffered an ACL injury, not during his final collegiate season, but during the pre-draft process.

"It was much talked about," Lynch said during his Friday-morning KNBR interview on the "Murph and Mac" show. "I've heard there was a little history of drafting ACL guys before we got here. I heard a little bit about it that weekend."

Regardless of the outside chatter, Lynch and the 49ers felt they found value with the selection.

As expected, Street did not contribute last year and spent his rookie season on injured reserve. He looked set to make his NFL debut this year, but a setback forced him to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his knee, which, once again, landed the defender on injured reserve.

With several key contributors ailing or out for the remainder of the season, Street appears set to finally make that NFL debut he has dreamed of for so long.

"You try to find value in the draft, and he's a guy we really liked, everybody, as we looked at him," Lynch continued. "We drafted him, and last year, he came back, but had some complications with his knee and went to IR. And then this year, couldn't quite make it, but how nice is it to have a guy like that kind of ready?

"We're going through the practice week, and he's been practicing well. It looks like as we put D.J. (Jones on injured reserve), Kentavius will have an opportunity, and we're excited for that. I know he's excited for that.

"A really good football player. Can play outside and inside, adds some versatility. I think we'll primarily play him on the inside, but good, strong football player, and we're looking forward -- hasn't played football in a while, so there will be a little adjustment, but he's been practicing here the last couple of weeks, looking really good."

Lynch added that the 49ers would place D.J. Jones on injured reserve on Friday, and Street will likely take his roster spot.

"I feel completely back to normal now," Street told reporters on Thursday. "Like, even coming back and practicing (during) training camp, OTAs, it still felt a little bit limiting. But right now is probably the best I've felt since prior to the injury."

Street added that he is ready to do whatever the 49ers coaches ask of him, whether that means playing on the interior of the defensive line, along the edge, cornerback, wide receiver, left tackle, whatever.

"I'd protect [Jimmy Garoppolo]," Street jokingly added.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.

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