2020 NFL Draft Profile: Javon Kinlaw

Javon Kinlaw

#2 Overall Defensive Tackle by Football Addicts

Born: Oct. 3rd, 1997 (22 years old)

Height: 6’6

Weight: 315 Lbs

Position: Defensive Tackle

University: South Carolina

About Javon

This prospect’s path to football has been all over the place, but at the end of the day it just proves he is a ball player. Javon Kinlaw is from Goose Creek, South Carolina where he attended Goose Creek High School. 247Sports listed him as a 4-star offensive tackle, and was actually the 6th best tackle in South Carolina. He gathered offers from Maryland, East Carolina, and even Clemson but committed to the University of South Carolina in December of 2015. 

Before he would go on to become an All-SEC 1st Team defensive tackle, Kinlaw spent a year at Jones County Community College in Ellisville, Mississippi. He was moved to defensive end, and gained nearly 65 pounds while he was at Jones County, and he would be ranked by 247Sports as the No. 2 overall defensive end in the JUCO circuit

His first year with the Gamecocks he lost about 40 lbs of the 65 lbs he gained at Jones County, becoming a leaner, healthier defensive lineman. He would rotate in all 12 games for South Carolina, and started in 10 of them in 2017. His impact wasn’t the biggest, recording 20 total tackles, two for loss, and a blocked field goal.

In 2018 Kinlaw would return as the Gamecocks top defensive tackle, and started all 12 games for them. He totaled 38 tackles, 10 for loss, 4.5 sacks and five pass deflections, which earned him Co-Defensive MVP for South Carolina that year. The Gamecocks would finish 7-5 on the season, earning a bid in the Belk Bowl vs Virginia but Kinlaw would miss the game due to a hip injury.

Kinlaw returned for his senior season in 2019 and it panned out well for him. He recorded 35 total tackles, six for a loss, six sacks, two pass deflections two fumble recovers and a blocked field goal. He was a big reason why South Carolina was able to come up with their upset victory over No. 3 Georgia. Sadly, they would finish the season at 4-8 and miss out on a bowl game. Kinlaw would be named AP first team All-American and first team All-SEC by the coaches.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

Even in SEC play Kinlaw seemed to overpower his blockers and showed his extremely superior strength in multiple different games. He has a nasty bull rush and has very long arms so he can really control blockers if he gets his hands on them. His explosiveness flashes on tape. He times the snap perfectly on the interior, and is a mismatch with centers with his first step quickness. You also gotta love his length on special teams, blocking a kick every year at South Carolina.

Weaknesses

Being 6’6 can make it easier for blockers to get underneath him and make fighting the leverage battle a lot more difficult. Whenever he fires off the ball he is like a bull in a china shop, and can lose sight of the ball carrier. His football I.Q. can lead him to be lost on the field at times. Even though he has been able to be a monster without it, I would love to see him drive his feet a little more when pushing his blocker back.

NFL Draft Projection/NFL Player Comp

NFL Draft Projection

I expect a strong outing at the NFL Combine, and thus a positive last minute rise in his draft stock. Currently I have Kinlaw as my 18th overall prospect in the 2020 class, and being selected by the Falcons 16th overall. If he does well at the combine I could see him going in the Top 15, especially with teams like the Colts, Bucs, and Broncos all in that area.

Drafting Kinlaw will give the Falcons flexibility with Grady Jarrett’s contract, add pass rush to their defensive line that lacks it, and another freak athlete to add to the front seven. Last year I thought Atlanta really could have used Dexter Lawrence’s talents on the defensive line and they haven’t really done anything to fix that issue yet. 

NFL Player Comp

Javon Kinlaw is your all around defensive tackle who can rush the passer and stop the run. He commands a double team or else he will break up your offense. Not only is he a monster on the field, but he also is an amazing character off the field as well, stating at the Senior Bowl “I want to show young men its ok to be a good father.”.

Geno Atkins has been one of the NFL’s better defensive tackles for the past nine years, and consistently has been able to get after the quarterback throughout his career. While Atkin’s has never recorded over 13 sacks in a single season, he does average 8 per season and has 100 career tackles for loss.  Their frames might be very different, their games aren’t, and I expect Kinlaw to be a top pass rushing defensive tackle by 2024.

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