Kris Kocurek

49ers drafting Javon Kinlaw was D-line coach Kris Kocurek's obsession

49ers drafting Javon Kinlaw was D-line coach Kris Kocurek's obsession

The 49ers are ecstatic they were able to add Javon Kinlaw to their already-dominant defensive line in the middle of the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday night. He fits what they want to do, and fills the hole created by trading DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts.

"We just found a guy that we thought was perfect for the way we play," San Francisco general manager John Lynch said Thursday on KNBR's "Mark Willard Show." "A really, really nice fit, so we pulled the trigger on Javon."

Coach Kyle Shanahan echoed Lynch's sentiments, as the offensive mastermind knows a dominant defense is a play-caller's best friend. As excited as Shanahan might be though, apparently it pales in comparison to how elated defensive line coach Kris Kocurek is.

"Do you know what the last five weeks have been like for us? Coach Kocurek is stuck in his house, and he's spending every day with his wife and his newborn," Shanahan said. "So all he's doing right now is changing diapers or watching Kinlaw.

"[Kocurek] sends us pictures of him every day, and I have to keep asking, 'Are you watching anyone else?' He's like, 'No, this is the guy.' So for it to get there, I know he's as excited as anyone."

[RELATED: Deebo apparently told Kinlaw that 49ers would draft him]

While Kinlaw is a tremendous defensive tackle prospect as is, Shanahan sees it as an ideal pairing of player and position coach.

"He's as good of a D-line coach as there is and we got him a guy to pair with him that is perfect," he said.

Losing Buckner surely was a big blow to Kocurek, but it appears he has found a way to get over the disappointment rather quickly.

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49ers' Nick Bosa hungry for more this season after huge rookie year

49ers' Nick Bosa hungry for more this season after huge rookie year

Nick Bosa nearly had a perfect rookie year on the field for the 49ers. After being taken with the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, he was named Defensive Rookie of the Year and was a key to San Francisco's Super Bowl run. 

He's far from satisfied, though. 

"I feel like we left a lot on the field last year, and we knew that," Bosa said in an interview with 49ers.com's Keiana Martin. "I think just another year of being together and getting that compatibility of playing together, it's gonna be even better this year."

Bosa terrorized opposing quarterbacks as a rookie. He finished the regular season with nine sacks, 25 QB hits and 16 tackles for loss. The Ohio State product added four more sacks in three playoff games.

Going into his second season as a pro, he gave plenty of credit for success to 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. 

"Just stick with Coach Kris and what he's been teaching us," Bosa said. "Can't go wrong."

Even though he made an immediate impact, Bosa quickly learned the NFL is a whole different ball game. He also learned how to stay on the field through minor injuries. 

[RELATED: Why 49ers could trade away key players if price is right]

"I learned that the NFL's a lot different than college, and it takes a real special team to get as far as we did," Bosa said. "It's gonna take a little extra to get over that hump. I just learned how to get through a lot of difficult times ... how to fight through small things that we nagging me throughout the year."

The 49ers will be leaning on Bosa to become even better in the coming years, and he clearly has high expectations of himself and his teammates as well.

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2020 NFL Draft profile: Javon Kinlaw could be 49ers' next star D-lineman

2020 NFL Draft profile: Javon Kinlaw could be 49ers' next star D-lineman

NBC Sports Bay Area will preview the NFL Draft with a look at the 49ers’ top needs, profiles of prospects that might fit their needs, along with some hidden gems. In this installment, we profile South Carolina defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw.

South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw is not even close to being a finished product.

His unlimited, untapped potential, motivation and willingness to work has to be tempting for the 49ers, and especially defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, as the club might give Kinlaw strong consideration for the No. 13 overall pick.

“I haven’t even scratched the surface to my pass rush,” Kinlaw said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “A lot of the times, I just be out there bull-rushing, just walking guys back. So once I get that right coaching, the sky is the limit.”

NFL teams want to get to the core of draft prospects to find out what motivates them to play football. For Kinlaw, it’s simple. He does not want his one-year-old daughter, Eden Amara, to experience what he went through as a child.

“Right now it’s just my baby,” he said. “I’ve got a baby girl that I’ve got to provide for and I never want her to grow up how I grew up and those kind of situations.”

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Kinlaw and his family members were homeless for a while after his mother brought the family from Trinidad to the Washington D.C. area in 1995. They moved to Mississippi and South Carolina throughout his childhood.

Kinlaw excelled in football but academic issues sent him to a junior college after high school. He turned it around. He had no other choice.

“Just getting to college. Just having somewhere that I knew I wasn’t going to get put out of,” he said. “Just having three meals. I always tell people I didn’t go to junior college for football, really. I just went because I had somewhere to sleep. I had free food. That’s really why I went. I didn’t go with the expectation that, ‘Man, I’m going to go to the SEC, I’m going to go to the league.’ I went because I had somewhere to sleep.”

Kinlaw earned a scholarship to South Carolina and ultimately became a team captain and First-Team All-American.

Kinlaw stood out at the Senior Bowl in January. He did not work out at the NFL Scouting Combine as he rehabbed from knee tendinitis.

[RELATEDIf Derrick Brown falls, 49ers could pounce]

The 49ers have a big hole to fill in the middle of their defensive line with the trade that sent DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts. Kinlaw certainly would pick up the slack on early downs from the moment he steps on the field.

Over time, the 49ers could develop Kinlaw's pass-rush skills to make him a dominant, three-down player.

NFL draft profile: Javon Kinlaw

Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 324 pounds
College: South Carolina
Career stats: 82 tackles, 10 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, eight passes defensed in three seasons.

Combine measurables
40-yard dash: NA
Vertical jump: NA
Broad jump: NA
20-yard shuttle: NA

What experts are saying
Todd McShay, ESPN on Kinlaw’s performance at the Senior Bowl: “This is about making money and getting to the next level and putting yourself in the best position. Kinlaw, probably above anyone else there, stood out.”
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Media: "Kinlaw is a hulking defensive tackle prospect. He does need to broaden his arsenal of moves, but there is tremendous upside. His effort is solid. Kinlaw showed out against elite competition, but he played down to the level of lesser opponents. Overall, Kinlaw's best football is in front of him and he has Pro Bowl potential.”
Josh Norris, NBC Sports: " I understand if people question Kinlaw’s lack of production - 10 sacks in his collegiate career. To me, his final season was incredibly similar to Jadeveon Clowney’s -- incredible individual disruption that should have resulted in clean up production by his teammates, yet too often they were nowhere to be found.”
Lance Zierlein, NFL Media: "He can be a disruptive force along the interior with that explosive first step and freaky physical gifts. No matter the front, Kinlaw's traits and potential could make him a solid starter early in his career.”

Draft projection: First round (top 20 overall)