Javon Kinlaw racked up six sacks as a senior at South Carolina last season.
That's an impressive number, considering he played in the SEC, where he went up against some of the top offensive linemen in the country.
The 49ers, who picked Kinlaw No. 14 overall Thursday in the 2020 NFL Draft, hope he can pile up more sacks while playing next to Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead in the NFL. But Kinlaw's ability to get to the quarterback might take some time to develop, according to NBC Sports Bay Area's Ian Williams.
"A minus could be him not able to have a lot of sacks," the former 49ers defensive tackle said Friday. "Maybe his pass-rush skills are limited because he's preyed upon younger offensive lineman and he's bullied younger offensive lineman, and he's been stronger and he's dominated those younger guys.
"But now, he's going to be in a professional game in the NFL playing against 25-, 27-, 30-year-old men, and it's going to be a different type of atmosphere for him to have to adjust to. I think he can. The 49ers think he can. That's why he was drafted at No. 14. That's why they feel he can be a replacement for DeForest Buckner."
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The 49ers traded Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts in March for the No. 13 overall draft pick. They traded down one spot and took Kinlaw.
But Williams does see a lot of positives in the young defensive lineman.
"6-foot-5 behemoth in the middle is going to be able to push the pocket, but my scouting report on him, some of his pluses, he's a very, very good run stopper," Williams said. "You'll see [in] a lot of his tape and his film, [he's] using his hands very well. As a defensive lineman, you have use your hands very well to get off blocks, especially in run situations, double teams and having to play down blocks, and then being able to fend offensive lineman off with your hands to be able to bend and get those cut blocks away so you can stay upright and get down the line of scrimmage and make a play.
"He can do these types of things. He can bend. He's got very good quickness on the line of scrimmage, so those are a lot of his pluses."
Williams believes joining a Super Bowl contender with an established defense will help take pressure off Kinlaw.
"Now, stepping into a scheme, understanding the group that he has around him, he doesn't need to step into a situation where he needs to be the savior for this defense," Williams said. "They have plenty of players, they have plenty of pieces around him that can pick up the slack, and allow him to be able to come into his own and learn and become a professional and be a rookie on a great team that's going to try to contend for another Super Bowl."
After a bitter loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, the 49ers want to return to the big game next season, and they hope Kinlaw can help them get there.