Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports


Cynthia Frelund projects Javon Kinlaw as 49ers’ most improved player in 2021

Jul 28, 2021 at 9:15 AM--


NFL Network's analytics expert, Cynthia Frelund, recently went around the NFC and named one player for each team who she projects as its most improved player.

"Using my forward-looking data models, I've identified one player from each NFL team who projects to see such an uptick in 2021 based on their performance trajectory and the scheme they'll be playing in this season," wrote Frelund.

Second-year defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw is that player for the San Francisco 49ers. The nearly 320-pound defender's rookie statistics weren't overly impressive. However, his game film and work in the trenches often showed much potential, setting him up as a good choice for Frelund's pick.

"Kinlaw's official rookie stat line: 1.5 sacks, 19 pressures, three TFLs, four QB hits, one INT, one TD and four passes defensed. Relatively unremarkable rookie production, at first glance. But this is why we need analytics. OK, I'm biased, but still. The advanced data does do him more justice. Computer vision showed his burst (first 3 yards traveled on passing downs) got faster in his last six games played, and that was without Nick Bosa commanding a lot of well-deserved attention."

Bosa was lost to a torn ACL during Week 2. With both he and veteran pass rusher Dee Ford lost early last season, the 49ers' defensive line struggled to be as productive as it was a year earlier.

Frelund, combining film with analytics, is optimistic about the 23-year-old defensive lineman's future.

"Stunts are a source of positivity," the analyst continued. "In run defense, Kinlaw was able to shake his O-lineman and move toward the ball carrier 0.5 seconds faster on average in those last six games, as well, another good sign for future gains."

San Francisco kicked off training camp this week, with the team's first practice scheduled for today.





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