Javon Kinlaw already appears to be a perfect fit for the 49ers' defensive line room.
The No. 14 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft's first contact with Bay Area local media was via video conference Thursday night, as all communication has been done lately. He was soft-spoken and appeared to be a man of few words, reminiscent of last year’s No. 2 overall pick Nick Bosa.
Kinlaw already is familiar with the 49ers defensive line’s style of play, and believes he will fit in seamlessly. He was impressed with the way each player in the group complements each other.
“I like the way they play honestly,” Kinlaw said. “They are just going after it, penetrating, getting off the ball, that type of thing. That’s what I like to do. By the way things look, you know, you can tell everybody is working together for the same goal. That’s what I want be a part of.”
Kinlaw knows that he has big shoes to fill, as he instantly will be seen as DeForest Buckner's replacement. Buckner, who was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for the pick that ultimately brought Kinlaw to Santa Clara, played in an inordinate amount of snaps during his rookie year. Buckner took it all in stride and didn’t want to come off the field.
Kinlaw wouldn’t mind that one bit. In fact, he played 95 snaps in the Gamecocks' overtime win over the Georgia Bulldogs during the 2019 season. He literally refused to come off the field.
“That’s just who I am as a person,” Kinlaw said. “That’s my make up. It’s in my DNA. I just want to be that guy. I feel like I was born to be that guy.”
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Right off the bat, Kinlaw will be learning from 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, who is well known for being the one voice you can hear above all of the noise at a 49ers practice.
Dealing with that type of decibel level from a coach could be intimidating, but Kinlaw believes he will thrive under it. His time at South Carolina under head coach Will Muschamp, who has the same vocal style of teaching, has him well prepared.
“Y’all must not know who Will Muschamp is,” Kinlaw said when questioned if he was ready for Kocurek. “Man, Muschamp would put his foot up your behind if he could. I’m used to that type of coaching. That’s what I respond best to any way.”
Most of all, Kinlaw appeared excited to get to work with his new teammates. Working alongside the likes of Bosa, Arik Armstead, Dee Ford and the rest of the group has him itching to get on the field again. He believes they might have been 2019’s best defensive line in the NFL, and told Bleacher Report before the draft that he hoped to be drafted by the 49ers, so that he could play with that group.
"They just a wonderful group of guys, a talented group that works together," he told B/R last week. "They work together for the same goal, not individual achievements, and that's to get the win at the end of the day."
When asked what he brings to the room, Kinlaw’s response was simple: A physical presence.
“Another physical, dominating presence attached with three more?” Kinlaw said. “Come on, man. You can’t ask for nothing better than that. I feel like I can come in and play a vital role.”
There had been some concern regarding the health of Kinlaw’s knee after he did not participate at the NFL Scouting Combine. But when asked about it, Kinlaw said he was back to being 100-percent healthy and his knee was not a concern.