Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Dre Greenlaw believes 49ers rookie Javon Kinlaw can win Defensive Rookie of the Year

May 20, 2020 at 11:41 AM--

Could the San Francisco 49ers boast back-to-back NFL Defensive Rookies of the Year? Dre Greenlaw certainly believes so.

Pass rusher Nick Bosa won the award in February. His defensive line lost DeForest Buckner this offseason, after San Francisco traded the talented interior lineman to the Indianapolis Colts. The 49ers replaced Buckner by drafting defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw out of South Carolina with the No. 14 overall pick.

Greenlaw spoke with reporters via a video conference call on Wednesday and shared that he is expecting big things from his new rookie teammate.

"I really didn't hear too much about him until a couple of weeks before the draft," Greenlaw admitted, "and his name kind of popped up, and I remembered him from when I played him. Just an explosive, big guy who can really move, and it's going to be just a perfect 3-Technique for us, and the way that we play him.

"It's going to be exciting to see his potential. I think the way that Bosa came and really showed his talent, I think Kinlaw can do the same thing and very well may be the Defensive Rookie of the Year. I think he has that potential, so it's going to be exciting to be behind him and get a chance to play with him."

Kinlaw racked up 65 tackles, 10 sacks, and two forced fumbles in his final two seasons at South Carolina.

Earlier this month, NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger said he believes Kinlaw has a chance to be the best defensive player from this year's draft class.

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

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