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Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Arik Armstead excited to play alongside Javon Kinlaw, help 49ers rookie grow

Sep 4, 2020 at 1:47 PM--

Sixth-year defender Arik Armstead joined 95.7 The Game on Friday afternoon and shared his thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers defensive line.

The 49ers are coming off a Super Bowl appearance. It was a game that the team came close to winning, which has led to high expectations as San Francisco heads into an unprecedented 2020 season.

The defensive line lost DeForest Buckner this offseason but tried to offset the departure by drafting defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw. COVID-19 prevented Kinlaw from benefiting from a full offseason, and the rookie had an up and down training camp as he acclimates to playing in the NFL, which wasn't unexpected given the circumstances.

Tackle Trent Williams shared this week that he expects big things from Kinlaw.

"I think he's going to be a heck of a player," the veteran offensive lineman said of Kinlaw. "I tell him all the time he's got Defensive Player of the Year written all over him. Getting with the D-line coach that they have, which is probably the best in the land with (Kris) Kocurek, I honestly feel like he's going to turn him into a nightmare in this NFL."

Armstead has also been impressed by Kinlaw while tempering expectations a bit. Kinlaw, after all, is an impressively powerful player but is also very raw. His technique still needs sharpening.

"I expect Javon to come in and continue to get better and grow," Armstead said on the Bonta, Steiny & Guru show, "just remembering that he's a rookie and he's going to have a lot to learn. Just being around him, he's an extremely hard worker. He has the skill set to be an elite player in the league, so I'm excited to play alongside him as well, and help him, and try to give all my knowledge to him, and get him up to speed as fast as we can."

As for the defensive line as a whole, Armstead expects great things from the unit in 2020.

"I expect us to play at a high level," Armstead continued. "We have a great group. We're coached great, so I'm excited to get out there on the field."

Armstead also noted that he has lofty expectations for himself. The $85 million deal he signed in March, however, does not create added pressure.

"In terms of pressure, I put pressure on myself to play at a high level and be the best out there on Sundays," Armstead explained. "And I have high expectations for myself, probably higher than anyone else can put on me. My pressure comes from myself and wanting to be the best."

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