Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

49ers rookie Javon Kinlaw’s instincts kicked in before picking off Rams’ Jared Goff and scoring

Nov 29, 2020 at 7:50 PM--

San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Kerry Hyder has been in the league for seven years. He has never found his way into the end zone during that time. On Sunday, he got to watch his rookie teammate, Javon Kinlaw, pick off Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff and scamper into the end zone for a score.

"That was just great to see," Hyder told reporters after the game. "JK has been working his butt off all year, and to see him get into the end zone -- defensive players, especially defensive linemen, try their whole career to get into the end zone, so I'm just super excited for him. That was a great thing he had today."

Kinlaw admits he was out of position on the play. His instincts kicked in, and that is impressive for a rookie who has yet to reach his potential.

"I was really supposed to be rushing, but I don't know — something just told me to drop, just step back," Kinlaw shared. "I saw the ball come out, like, 'Yeah, we're going to the crib.' That's all I know."

Kinlaw has been hard on himself this season, never wanting to offer self-praise and knowing that he still has much to learn. Even after his first sack two weeks ago, he said it was "just one." Actually, it was 1.5, but even that wasn't enough for Kinlaw to pat himself on the back.

The young defender was asked if he feels like he's starting to get more comfortable in his role and whether he is approaching where he wants to be as a player.

"Slowly, but I just feel like I've got a long way to go," Kinlaw responded. "I'm here for the grind. That's what got me here — the grind. I'm going to keep sticking to the grind. That's all I know my whole life."

San Francisco selected Kinlaw out of South Carolina with the No. 14 overall draft pick. The rookie has 24 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and now an interception through 10 games on his NFL resume.

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