Baldinger thinks Kinlaw's breakout game is 'just the start'


If you noticed Javon Kinlaw jumping off the screen during his breakout game in the 49ers' 27-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, you definitely weren't the only one. San Francisco's first-round pick finally broke through for his first career NFL sack, and caught the attention of NFL Media's Brian Baldinger.

Baldinger was a big fan of Kinlaw's coming out of the draft, and previously broke down film of Kinlaw showing "flashes" of his vast potential earlier in the season. On Sunday against the Saints, Baldinger saw evidence that the rookie has taken a step forward.

"There's a half a dozen plays on Sunday, in this loss by the 49ers, where their No. 1 pick, the 13th pick in the draft, Javon Kinlaw, showed up," Baldinger said in breaking down Kinlaw's film.

Baldinger then highlighted a few specific plays in which Kinlaw -- who actually was the 14th pick -- stood out.

"He just takes [Saints guard Andrus] Peat right here, who's 340 pounds himself, and just pushes him to the side and takes down Taysom Hill," Baldinger described. "I mean, that's just physically imposing football. One on one. Kinlaw winning."

Baldinger then turned his attention to Kinlaw's first career sack. 

"Now here, he's going to get to Taysom Hill, but [Saints guard] Nick Easton right here, he's got no choice but to jerk him and pull him down," Baldinger diagrammed. "They throw the flag there, but Kinlaw gets there. I mean, he's getting closer and closer."

RELATED: 49ers place Armstead on COVID-19 list after loss to Saints

After breaking down another half-sack by Kinlaw, as well as an impressive pass deflection, Baldinger explained that he expects the rookie to continue to improve this season.

"Kinlaw showed up, man," Baldinger said. "And I think it's just the start. I expect a good second half from him, figuring out some of these schemes and plays."

Coming out of their bye, the 49ers are going to have a tough time qualifying for the playoffs. But in Kinlaw, there's certainly something to be excited about the rest of the way.

Download and subscribe to the 49ers Talk Podcast