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Javon Kinlaw reminds Dee Ford of Nick Bosa, says D-lineman is ‘everything that you want to see in a rookie’

Aug 13, 2020 at 1:32 PM--

Yes, they play different positions and will be asked to do different things this season. Still, veteran pass rusher Dee Ford sees similarities between incoming rookie defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and pass rusher Nick Bosa, who was a rookie last year.

Ford was asked about Kinlaw during a video conference call on Thursday.

"Everything that you want to see in a rookie — he wants to be a sponge, he wants to soak everything up, and he wants to learn," Ford said. "He reminds me of Bosa when he came in. He didn't say too much. When you're a first-round draft pick ... you can be a little entitled. That's not him. That's not (in) his DNA.

"He fits in well with the guys. When you come here, John (Lynch) and Kyle (Shanahan), they get specific players, so nine times out of ten, if they got him, they brought him here, they know what type of character they have. And so far, he's been everything as promised, and he's going to get better."

Kinlaw is at a bigger disadvantage than Bosa, though. Bosa dealt with some offseason injuries last year but was able to meet face-to-face with his coaches and teammates throughout the process of picking up the defense for the first time.

The coronavirus pandemic has severely limited Kinlaw's offseason. Training camp was his first time stepping foot inside the 49ers facilities in Santa Clara.

"He's behind the eight ball; every rookie is because of the virus and all that," Ford explained. "You can't get OTAs. OTAs were crucial for me, especially with learning a new position my rookie year. I can only imagine where his mind is right now, but he's handling it very well. He's going to be really good."

The good news is that the simplicity of the defensive scheme will benefit Kinlaw.

"It's going to be a challenge as far as trying to apply it to different offense and different games, but this defense is simple," Ford said. "They're not going to give him too much. 'They,' as in coach Kris (Kocurek) and (Robert) Saleh. They're not going to put too much on his plate.

"They're going to simplify, and they're going to bring him along. He's going to be able to do what he does best. He can rush the passer, and he's a big dude, so he can plug up some gaps and make plays in the run game.

"They're going to give him chances and opportunities to do what he does best. They're not going to overload him too much, mentally. So I don't worry about him."

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