Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports

‘He’s super talented’: Arik Armstead expects Javon Kinlaw to make immediate impact with 49ers

May 22, 2020 at 11:25 AM--

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead led the San Francisco 49ers in sacks last season. He got to opposing quarterbacks 10 times during the regular season, and then twice more in the playoffs. The performance earned Armstead a five-year extension worth up to $85 million.

Hours after signing that contract, Armstead learned that the 49ers had traded defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts. The news surrounding his teammate and friend came as a shock.

"I definitely didn't expect that to happen," Armstead said on Good Morning Football this week. "I was thinking that everybody was still going to be together, and we were still going to continue on this journey, but everything happens for a reason."

San Francisco received the No. 13 overall pick in exchange for Buckner, and after moving down one spot, used the selection to draft the Pro Bowl defensive tackle's replacement—Javon Kinlaw of South Carolina.

"From what I've seen, he's super talented," Armstead said of Kinlaw. "Big, strong, fast, can do a lot out there on the field, and I expect him to come in and help us a lot from Day 1. And I'm excited about the opportunity to bring him along, and get him up to speed as quick as we can, so he can go out there, make some plays, and help us win."

Armstead isn't the only 49ers player who is excited to see what Kinlaw can do along a defensive line that caused havoc on opposing offenses last season.

"He's an animal," defensive tackle D.J. Jones said of Kinlaw this week. "... I think he'll add versatility to the D-line. I don't feel like anybody is just one-dimensional on our D-line, and he's adding on to that puzzle. Eventually, it's all going to show."

Jones added: "Excuse my language, he's a grown-ass man. He's bulky. He's strong as all get-out, which you can see on film. He's driving linemen toward the quarterback, which I love to see, which I know (D-line coach) Kris Kocurek loves to see."

Kinlaw racked up 65 tackles, 10 sacks, and two forced fumbles in his final two seasons at South Carolina. That includes a 35-tackle, six-sack campaign in 2019.

Second-year linebacker Dre Greenlaw also has lofty expectations of Kinlaw.

"It's going to be exciting to see his potential," Greenlaw told reporters this week. "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."

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