Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Baldinger isn’t sure any NFL player can handle 49ers rookie Javon Kinlaw one-on-one

May 12, 2020 at 3:39 PM--

When it comes to player analysis, there aren't many who are more informative and respected than former offensive lineman turned NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger. That's probably why David Lombardi of The Athletic decided to speak with him to gain insight on San Francisco 49ers rookie defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and his potential immediate impact.

There was no doubt that the 49ers would select a defensive tackle somewhere in the draft. While most expected that to come with their second of two first-round picks, assuming general manager John Lynch and company would add a game-changing receiver at No. 13 (which became No. 14 after a trade down), Kinlaw was too good a prospect to pass up. So good, in fact, that San Francisco was willing to pass on top-receiver prospects Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb, knowing it could land another playmaker wideout later in the draft.

The 49ers ended up taking Brandon Aiyuk out of Arizona State at No. 25.

Baldinger has already raved about the 49ers' draft, which left him immensely impressed.

"I think that Javon Kinlaw has a chance to be the best defensive player in this draft," the analyst said last week.

RELATED 49ers D-line coach Kris Kocurek sent John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan pictures of Javon Kinlaw every day

That would be good news for the 49ers, who traded away Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner after determining that signing him to a long-term deal wasn't going to be feasible because of the salary-cap implications. Kinlaw is expected to replace Buckner, and will even wear his former number—99—while attempting to do so.

"I don't know that any one player, even at the NFL level, can handle him one-on-one," Baldinger told Lombardi this week. "I think he's just too powerful."

That's high praise from a former NFL player who spent over a decade blocking defensive linemen.

"He's 325 pounds on a chiseled 6-5 1/2-inch frame with long arms," Baldinger continued. "I know DeForest was 6-7 with long arms too, but this guy is thicker than DeForest. There aren't many people — period — in the NFL that look like that, that are built like that, that have the kind of power that (Kinlaw) has. I don't see why they can't plug and play him right away."

Kinlaw racked up 65 tackles, 10 sacks, and two forced fumbles in his final two seasons at South Carolina. The defensive lineman was asked after being drafted if he could step in right away and be a three-down contributor.

"Hands down. I'm ready," Kinlaw responded.

He added: "(I'm) just a physical presence. ... I feel like I can come in and play a vital role."

Click here to read Lombardi's entire breakdown of Kinlaw and the revamped 49ers defensive line—with the help of Baldinger—over at The Athletic.

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