49ers GM Lynch praises Kinlaw's 'tremendous work ethic'


Javon Kinlaw is a big, big man. The 49ers' first-round pick from the 2020 NFL Draft is listed at 6-foot-5 and 319 pounds. His size isn't the only reason San Francisco coveted him so much before the draft, though. 

General manager John Lynch knew Kinlaw's talent going into the draft. There's a reason he was a first-round pick. Since training camp started, Lynch has been even more impressed by Kinlaw's intangibles.

"Kinlaw -- everybody talks about it, he's a physical specimen," Lynch said on the "TK Show" earlier this week. "But we don't just draft physical specimens. They better be good football players. ... The one thing I know with him: He's got a tremendous work ethic, a tremendous skill set.

"He wants to be great, and he's got a great coach coaching him who's gonna demand excellence out of him each and every day."

Kinlaw is expected to start at defensive tackle for the 49ers as a rookie. He still has a ways to go, though. The rookie likely will start the first two downs and then come off the field. 

The South Carolina product has to improve as a pass rusher, and Lynch believes he has the right players around him to help the 22-year-old and push him to be great. 

"He also has a special group of players, with Nick Bosa, and Dee Ford, and D.J. Jones and Solomon Thomas, that are all really helping him and have really taken him under their wing," Lynch said.


The biggest thing for Lynch, however, is that Kinlaw just has to be himself. The 49ers traded star defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts this offseason, and selected Kinlaw with the draft pick they received from the Colts. 

That can come with a lot of pressure for Kinlaw. Lynch and the rest of the organization are doing their best to preach Kinlaw doesn't have to be Buckner for them.

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"He's got big shoes to fill in the ones that DeForest Buckner left, but we've been very clear with him (that) you don't try to be DeForest Buckner," Lynch said. "You try to be the best version of yourself, and I think he's doing a really good job.

"I think he's gonna be a good player for years to come for us."