Javon Kinlaw has some awfully large shoes to fill in replacing DeForest Buckner on the 49ers' defensive line. However, even if San Francisco's first-round draft pick doesn't have feet as large as the 6-foot-7 Buckner, he should be plenty big enough to handle the speed and physicality of the NFL -- right away.
"I don't know that any one player, even at the NFL level, can handle him one-on-one," NFL Network's Brian Baldinger said of Kinlaw in a phone conversation with The Athletic's David Lombardi. "I think he's just too powerful. He's 325 pounds on a chiseled 6-foot-5 1/2 frame with long arms. I know DeForest was 6-foot-7 with long arms too, but this guy is thicker than DeForest.
"There aren't many people -- period -- in the NFL that look like that, that are built like that, that have the kind of power that (Kinlaw) has. I don't see why they can't plug and play him right away."
While Kinlaw gives up 1 1/2 inches to Buckner, he outweighs him by 30 pounds and his arms are half an inch longer. So, he might take up slightly less vertical space than the man he is replacing, but on the whole, Kinlaw is the more massive being.
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Despite being so humongous, Kinlaw moves quite well for his size. He didn't run at the NFL Scouting Combine, but his collegiate tape shows a relentless player with tremendous athleticism. Just watch the last clip in this highlight reel:
.@GamecockFB @JavonKinlaw could be the most dominant defensive player in this draft. It’s a healthy debate; but this much I know. His talent, power, and effort are elite. #gamecocks #SEC #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/eTvSHt76mu— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) April 17, 2020
That's a huge man running very fast for half the distance of the football field. With Kinlaw's combination of elite physical attributes, Baldinger believes he has the chance to be better than all of his peers on the defensive side of the ball in the 2020 NFL Draft.
"He probably runs as well as DeForest did," Baldinger said. "When you get a guy 50 yards downfield chasing down a play, that's inside him. It shows a glimpse that he has that type of ability. When I watch plays like that, he has the chance to be the most dominant defensive player in the draft.
"That's not a slight to [Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah] Simmons or [Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Derrick] Brown or [Washington edge rusher] Chase [Young] or anybody. (Kinlaw) just physically has that type of power and speed."
It isn't uncommon for rookie defensive linemen to experience some growing pains in their first year in the NFL, but given how gigantic Kinlaw already is, he might be able to skip that part.