Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina

Height: 6-5

Weight: 324

Class: Senior

D.O.B.: 10/3/97

Statistical Profile: Kinlaw played in 37 games with 34 starts during his time at South Carolina, compiling 18.5 tackles-for-loss and ten sacks. The senior has also forced three fumbles, recovered four and batted down eight passes in his three seasons of playing time.

Scouting Kinlaw: I’ve been a fan of Javon Kinlaw since the 2018 season, when I called him one of the biggest sleepers in a conference loaded with defensive line talent. Since then Kinlaw has grown in his technique, hand usage and mental acuity, while continuing to showcase the traits that make a him Round 1 talent: explosiveness, range and powerful, deadly hands.

Kinlaw doubters will point to his relative lack of production and occasional lapses in leverage, hand technique and rush plan, but watching most of his tape reveals those shortcomings have become the exception. On the majority of reps, Kinlaw overwhelmingly dominates the opposition, and while consistency is still a factor in his low points on tape, the tape shows a player that is clearly headed in the right direction over the past two years.

There is really no comparison between the pass rush ability and potential of Kinlaw and any other interior defensive lineman in this class. Like all collegiate interior defensive linemen, Kinlaw is far from a finished product as a pass rusher, but he has legit go-to moves, insane power and quickness and he knows how to work to the edge of a blocker, creating favorable angles to the pocket.

As for the lack of production, Kinlaw needed a lot of development when he arrived at South Carolina, really only seeing the field heavily the last two years. 2018 was full of flashes, but in 2019 he was an unblockable monster, registering six sacks and one of the highest pressure rates for his position in the country. Remember, pressure is the best indicator of future sacks, and Kinlaw creates havoc on a regular basis in the pass game.

Kinlaw’s biggest issue as a pass rusher is that his pad level can swell and cause him to lose upfield momentum. This can result in some stalemates that expose Kinlaw’s lack of a counter move. He just doesn’t have a Plan B, probably because Plan A was rarely stopped. That’ll need to develop in the NFL, but there is no reason to believe it won’t.

Against the run, Kinlaw made great progress this past year at ID’ing blocks and reacting to pullers. He can play with more consistent pad level and keep his eyes up while working through blocks, but defensive linemen who are constantly on the offense’s side of the line of scrimmage are bad news. Kinlaw has started to recognize reach blocks and keep himself playside against zone runs, which coupled with his natural traits just made him a nightmare to handle.

Kinlaw is just constantly re-setting the line of scrimmage with power, length and burst. Even when he’s a beat late off the ball, he moves so explosively that opponents are rarely prepared to handle the force of his arrival. I lost count of the amount of times he drove his opponent a few yards deep and disrupted running plays, even bulldozing linemen into their running back at times, like on this play:

The prospect that Kinlaw reminds me the most of is Chiefs’ defensive tackle Chris Jones, a popular comparison in football circles for awhile now. Like Kinlaw, Jones was seen as raw and toolsy, while not enough credit was given to his mental and technical growth at the position, or his dominance against top talent despite his shortcomings.

In the end, Jones will probably never be a perfect technician at the position, and it really doesn’t matter. Guys like he and Kinlaw really just need to hit certain thresholds in the finer components of the position (somewhere well beyond a Robert Nkmediche) in order to be successful. Might be unfair, but when you can move like this at 6-5, 325 pounds, some of the details just don’t matter.

The best defensive tackles in the NFL impact the pass game as pass rushers and the run game as behind-the-line-of-scrimmage disruptors. That’s all Kinlaw did this past season against some of the best offensive lines in college football. He’s the only sure-fire every-down difference maker at the position in the 2020 NFL Draft, and that should make him a lock top ten pick on April 23rd.

Bucs Fit: The Bucs greatest need may be at offensive tackle, but Kinlaw is the one player who realistically could be on the board at No. 14 that would make me hesitate to select a tackle. He’s EXACTLY what the team is currently missing, a meddlesome gap crusher who will be a perfect fit next to the space-eating Vita Vea.

Kinlaw also wouldn’t have to play a ton right away thanks to Ndamukong Suh re-signing with the team. He could split time with the 33 year-old veteran, allowing both to play their best football while turning the more athletic Kinlaw loose in pass rush situations. The Gamecock senior’s addition could legitimately give the Bucs the best defensive line in the NFL.

Tristan Wirfs isn’t gonna be there at No. 14. If Jedrick Wills is on the board at No. 14, I take him. If Mekhi Becton is there, I would be torn, but Becton does fill the bigger need, and stud tackles are hard to find. Still, I might lean Kinlaw, and I would definitely take the interior defensive lineman over Andrew Thomas or Josh Jones, much as I like both. Call me crazy, but I think Kinlaw can be that good at the next level.

Grade: Round 1

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft

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BucRy
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BucRy

I think 49ers will be taking Kinlaw since they traded up to the 13th spot after the Deforest Buckner trade to the Colts.. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

magoobee
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magoobee

But SF is in dire need for a WR. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

magoobee
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magoobee

The case for taking Kinlaw over the OL is that in the 2nd round there will be more OL talent than at DT that can be a pass rusher. Kinlaw is the 15th overall rated prospect with a 6.7 grade meaning he will be a year 1 quality starter. Also consensus mock drafts have Kinlaw at #14. I also like that he came from a lesser SEC school. Meaning he did not have elite talent around him BUT he had to face a lot of elite talent. Derrick Brown has more upside but no way does he fall to the… Read more »

TCB2W!
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TCB2W!

Isn’t he from the same lesser SEC school that Jadeveon Clowney came from? Didn’t they say the same thing about him? Maybe, his shitty other players on his defense made him look like a superstar in comparison to him bc of how much lesser that talent was. I wouldn’t trust any one standout on South Carolina’s defense. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

IDGABuc
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IDGABuc

I think if you just look at his tape and see his progression over the last cpl years and see his outright dominance over SEC competition for much of the last year it can answer any questions of whether or not he’s worthy of a high pick. He was incredible and getting better. As far as upside and Brown having more, I just don’t think that’s true nor do any of the people putting out scouting reports or breakdowns I’ve seen of him. When you watch the tape Kinlaw clearly possesses more upside, especially as a pass rusher. When you… Read more »

IDGABuc
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IDGABuc

I meant I’d take one of the Big 3 OT’s (3 imho, 4 in others) over almost anyone but would have to think twice if Young or Okudah was there and I would take Kinlaw over Wirfs if all those OT’s and other players are gone.. Ok that just got more confusing, not less. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

BDOG
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BDOG

Excellent commentary, agree 100%! BUCS need dominant D-Line to continue ascending to playoff team performances. Our O will be competent against anyone, now. Drafting OL, RB, WR could make really dynamic but gotta stop teams, and secondary young, green and need support and confidence if want optimal development of our DBs. That means go DL, with 1st two picks! IF available, no brainer, KINLAW. With second rd pick, go DL-BLACKLOCK, ELLIOTT, DAVIDSON or next best thing, free safety, S-Ashtyn DAVIS or Winfield. Love thinking of drafting Offense players, very sexy but Defense Wins Championships, always will! Rookie OL will not… Read more »

Spitfire
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Spitfire

I wouldn’t be upset if they took Kinlaw due to the right OTs being gone, but if they went DL 1st AND 2nd and didn’t touch the Offense till the 3rd I’d be pissed. Yes, drafting skill position players is “sexy” but so is Dline. Drafting Oline is not “sexy”. So it isn’t about the “sexiness” it’s about making the Oline better makes our entire Offense better. Dline with one of the first 2 picks is fine, but the other one better be Oline. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

owlykat
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owlykat

Our young DBs already have plenty of confidence by how they dominated the NFL the latter part of last season. Kinlaw would be a backup this year. We have to draft a starting OT with our first pick to start this year at RT. A first pick should always bring a starter player that we badly need that year. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

TCB2W!
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TCB2W!

If the top 4 are gone, the next two are not plug and play tackles. You wouldn’t be getting a guaranteed starter if they reach at 14 for either. The only guaranteed day 1 starter if Kinlaw, top 4 tackles, and Brown are gone. Then the only immediate guaranteed starters is a top WR or Swift at 14. Would you be happy going those routes? Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

magoobee
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magoobee

Jon – an idea for article. Draft Steals. Select players that are suppose to go before the Bucs pick by position. But if they fall to that draft pick….no brainer jump on them. I’ll start with round 2 because if any of the OL or Kinlaw fall to that spot those are obvious. RD 2 RB- Jonathan Taylor OL-Ezra Cleveland DT-Ross Blacklock S-Antoine Winfield RD3 RB-Clyde Edwards-Helaire,Cam Akers OT-Lucas Niang DT-Raekwon Davis S-Kyle Dugger,Ashtyn Davis Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

IDGABuc
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IDGABuc

I don’t even like Cleveland in Rd 2 period. He has some athletic upside but both him and Driscoll do yet both need to add strength first plus some technical stuff, so I see them both as developmental prospects with high upside so MAYBE in the 3rd or 4th but more likely 5th. They’ll go earlier than that but we need a RT NOW. I like Niang in the 2nd if there or ol’ “6′ 4″ 270” lb Clyde Edwards-Helaire , also in the 2nd. I think he’s just an all around great back and my favorite in this class.… Read more »

owlykat
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owlykat

No way take Kinlaw if any of the top four OTs are there. Protecting Brady is priority ONE! If the top four OTs are gone trade down and get Jones and an extra second round pick. Kinlaw would be a backup even if we got him. We need starters this year; not backups. We can use our first pick next year on a DT to replace Suh if we have to. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

buclover1988
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buclover1988

We need to continue building the defensive line, offensive line, and draft a running back. Our secondary will come along as they continue to get experience. If no offensive lineman is Available that we would like, trade down, get more picks, and draft aj epenesa. Promise he’s going to be a stud in the NFL. Watch his film. Idc what his combine numbers were. I watched him play since he was a true freshman and he was a terror and made game changing plays on a regular basis. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

scubog
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scubog

Didn’t see that much of Kinlaw in college, so I have to rely on the more educated opinions of the people who watch endless film. What I do know is that, as he enters the Draft, he doesn’t appear to be in the same league as Warren Sapp, Aaron Donald or perhaps even our own Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy when they we selected in the top 15. That doesn’t mean he’s not worth us taking at the 14 spot, it just makes me more skeptical that perhaps another player/position has more value. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No… Read more »

IDGABuc
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IDGABuc

Those are some big names.. Also, Idk that ANY DT has dominated CFB like Suh did so that’s a tough comparison to make. Maybe no player.. He was utterly dominant on each play! Kinlaw is just getting started in taking football seriously (homeless etc) but he has a ton of upside and flashed that dominance last year more and more, so I think that’s why he goes high. Not because he has an all around better game han the greats right now. If he does live up to his potential, and he’s on the right path, he has a chance… Read more »

Dman
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Dman

I haven’t watched Kinlaw so can’t really weigh in here, but the run up to the draft always seems to highlight those guys that offer potential vs. production. Feels like this may be one of those along with OT Becton out of Louisville. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

Alldaway 2.0
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Alldaway 2.0

To me I think it is simple. Kinlaw or one of the OTs in the first. I would be happy with either outcome. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

fredster
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fredster

Hoping we go OT but if It’s Kinlaw won’t be too disappointed. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

jongruden
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jongruden

We have some premier tackles in this draft even @ 14 we could draft a tackle who would normally go top 5 I say draft RT and protect Brady as much as possible Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

Dave
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Dave

Exactly Jongruden. Whether it’s Becton, or Thomas, those are the 2 players that will help us the most immediately. Especially Thomas. He’s the most pro ready OT in this draft and will help this OLine on day 1. And as far as RB is concerned, if Taylor is there at 45, I’ll take him. If he’s not, I’ll gladly take Dobbins there, or Akers in the 3rd instead. I don’t see much of a difference between the top 4 backs(Swift, Taylor, Dobbins, and Akers) all 4 of them have well rounded games, strengths, weaknesses, and RB1 potential. On a neutral… Read more »

IDGABuc
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IDGABuc

Highly disagree! Wills is BY FAR the most pro ready RT in the class and probably the most dominant OT period. The only one with more upside is Becton imo but Wills is plug and play at RT as that’s where he played in college. He WAS blocking his QB’s blindside though as Tua is left-handed so that may be the only reason they had him on that side. I think he could take Smith’s spot at LT and have Smith move to RT, np. His tape is THAT good. Definitely would take him first out of the OT’s and… Read more »

IDGABuc
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IDGABuc

I also think it’s funny when I see Tua mocked to the Raiders as Jon Gruden HATED having a leftie when he had Simms so Idk that he’d take one again, not even Tua. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...