Falcons Draft Profile: Javon Kinlaw

dkr18100633 missouri at southcarolina

In my last article on Yetur Gross-Matos, I detailed the possibility of drafting a technician. In this edition, we will investigate a less refined prospect with incredible potential. The Falcons have already met with a dozen defensive lineman, including Javon Kinlaw. Kinlaw is quoted saying, “They (Falcons) just wanted to get some information, nothing too serious.” With reports that Thomas Dimitroff could trade back to acquire draft capital, this situation assumes the team decides to stay put or even move up a few spots.

Kinlaw was a first-team all-American in his senior season. He recorded 35 tackles, six tackles for a loss, six sacks, two pass defenses, and two fumble recoveries with the Gamecocks. His sacks took a dip his final year, but he registered 15 tackles for a loss and ten sacks in his junior and senior seasons combined.

Kinlaw has the physical ability to disrupt NFL offenses from day one, and with a ceiling as high as any in this draft class, he could very well be selected before the Falcons 16th pick. According to reports out of Mobile, he has the mentality to compete for every single rep, every single day. Kinlaw’s draft stock could only grow marginally, but he still accepted an invitation to the Reese’s Senior Bowl anyways. When asked about this, Kinlaw stated that he wanted to show his willingness to compete, and went on to mention that word “compete” about a dozen more times.

The standard jive on Kinlaw is that he was made in a lab with one purpose — to play defensive tackle in the NFL. His measurements are eye-popping, standing at 6-foot-6, 315 pounds with 34-inch arms and 10-inch hands. But his quickness and agility would still be NFL caliber for a 290-pound defensive tackle, making him a certified athletic freak.

Though he currently might be easier to block than projected top-ten pick Derrick Brown, his future projection is his most valuable asset. Unlike other physical specimens (Robert Nkemdiche & Ra’Shede Hageman) we have seen fail in the NFL due to their inability to translate their physical tools into production, Kinlaw already has ways of winning, either through brute strength (bull rush) or with his quickness. With only a simple push-pull swim move, his technical pass-rushing arsenal is limited. As stated, it is unanimously accepted the Gamecock is only scratching the surface, but with elite pass-rushing grades the past two seasons, he is already effective despite his current limitations.

Though there are few, Kinlaw does have minor deficiencies. His immediate disruption of plays reveals his weak processing, occasionally missing the direction the play is developing towards. He has also been pegged to be inconsistent with his leverage, which is to be expected at his size but has improved since his time at South Carolina.

With Grady Jarrett emerging as one of the top defensive tackles in football, pairing the two would be cause for panic among NFL quarterbacks. A destructive unit in both the run and pass, they would have interior offensive lineman lost in their pass sets and reaching in the run. Kinlaw can line up in three and five-techniques; the flexibility he offers a defense will exponentially grow when paired with an equally athletic defensive tackle.

This is the type of player to believe in. Kinlaw is a man who went from homeless to junior college, to South Carolina, and now the NFL, overcoming every obstacle in his way. Contingent on continued refinement in his hand usage and pass-rushing moves, he could reach heights greater than current NFL comparisons like Chris Jones. Kinlaw might be the highest selected defensive tackle for what he COULD be in the future.

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