Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

49ers rookie Javon Kinlaw discusses transition to NFL, Nick Bosa’s work ethic, going against Laken Tomlinson

Aug 18, 2020 at 2:01 PM--

Rookie defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw revealed on Tuesday that he weighed 10 pounds, 8 ounces at birth. The big-man has stood out during practices, so far, and brings a lot of size and power to the already explosive San Francisco 49ers defensive line.

"We're excited to have him," defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said on Tuesday. "Like every rookie, it's just a different feel when you get on the practice field, especially when you go against an offense like ours, who moves at such a fast pace, who makes you run as a defensive line. It's not a power game that you've got to play. It's more of a speed game.

"For him, like every rookie, it's the fourth day of camp, the legs are probably getting a little bit heavier. But we're excited to have him. He's shown a lot of explosive movements through individual drills in the first 10 days, and he's a very large human being, a very powerful man. He just needs to continue to grind, and lean on the veterans in that room, and continue to get better every day."

Kinlaw didn't want to give himself a glowing evaluation when asked to assess where he is at early in training camp. He, too, sees room for improvement.

"I'd be lying if I (said I) thought it was good, but I'm making improvements," Kinlaw said. "That's the main thing. Just get better day by day. That's all I'm really trying to do. I knew, coming in, that it wasn't going to be easy, so I already had prepared myself for that. I see the improvements daily."

Still, Kinlaw feels he is acclimating well, getting to know his teammates, and learning a lot. Offensive lineman Ben Garland on Monday praised Kinlaw's efforts not only on the practice field but in the meeting rooms.

"I think we're all really excited about him," Garland said. "Very powerful, very strong, very big kid. One thing I really like about him is he has an ability to learn, and he wants to learn. He's very coachable. He's even asking offensive guys what he can do to stay in the league longer or develop his game. So, I was really impressed with him so far."

Kinlaw commented that, all his life, he's been bigger than everyone else. He thought that would change when he arrived in the NFL.

"Honestly, coming in, I thought I was going to be 'another guy,'" admitted Kinlaw. "But I'm coming in, I'm looking, I'm like, 'OK, dang, I'm the biggest guy.' But just because I'm big, that don't really mean nothing because everybody's strong, everybody's big. It's all about technique for me, now."

Kinlaw is learning a lot from his teammates along the defensive line, including "old soul" Dee Ford. He soaks in everything the veteran pass rusher tells him.

As for Nick Bosa, Kinlaw is just trying to match the second-year defender's intensity.

"I see him out there; he's out there early, before practice, after practice, working out every day, working hard," Kinlaw said of Bosa. "That makes me feel like that's what I need to do. But the key right now, for me, is trying to find my own routine. But just watching those guys work, it makes me want to work harder."

It was reported that Kinlaw had success against fellow rookie Colton McKivitz during Tuesday's practice. That, however, wasn't the case when he went against veteran guard Laken Tomlinson. While Kinlaw may be bigger than everyone else, the matchup was a reminder that he still has things to fine-tune.

"He wore me out the other day," admitted Kinlaw. "I'm used to playing bully ball in college. Everybody here is strong. And then, they're playing with good pad level. I'm running off the ball, and his head is below my sternum.

"It favored me a little more today, but the thing is just that he just helps me get better so much. He's been teaching me about taking care of my body. Laken is the ultimate teammate. I appreciate him so much."

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