If there is one position that New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman loves, it is the defensive tackle position.
Circumstance will likely dictate that he isn’t able to draft an interior defensive lineman in 2020, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any he wants to draft. There are several talented defensive tackles in this draft class, and a pair of potentially elite prospects with All-Pro potential.
South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw doesn’t receive the buzz that Auburn’s Derrick Brown has, but he is a potentially elite prospect in his own right. Kinlaw is approximately the same size as Brown, possesses freakish athleticism, and has the ability to be a nightmare match-up for just about any offensive lineman. Just how hard will it be for the Giants to pass on him?
Prospect: Javon Kinlaw (iDL, South Carolina)
Games Watched: vs. Alabama (2019), vs. Missouri (2019), vs. Geogia (2019), vs. Clemson (2019)
Red Flags: None
Games Played: 29
Tackles For a loss: 17.0
Forced Fumbles: 3
Passes Defensed: 8
Games Played: 12
Tackles For a loss: 6.0
Forced Fumbles: 0
Passes Defensed: 2
Best: Size, length, power, explosiveness, strength, agility, disruption, and usage
Worst: Motor, consistency
Projection: A starting interior defensive lineman with scheme diversity
South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw has a rare blend of size, power, explosiveness, and athleticism for the position. Kinlaw is a big, long defensive lineman at 6-foot-5 inches and 324 pounds, with 34 ⅞ inch arms, but carries his weight very well. While he certainly appears big standing next to smaller teammates, Kinlaw carries very little “bad” weight and has a long, a relatively lean and athletic build.
Kinlaw features a rare get-off with a very explosive first step. Kinlaw does a very good job of transferring speed into power and is able to drive single blockers yards into the backfield before they are able to anchor against his power. Kinlaw shows a good variety of pass rush moves, flashing a crisp club-rip move, an arm-over, and a long arm move, which he uses to contrast his potent bull rush. Kinlaw generally does a good job of placing his hands for inside or half-man leverage, maximizing his power. He matches his lower-body explosiveness with upper strength, showing the ability to bench press offensive linemen, create separation, and shed blocks.
Kinlaw also shows very good quickness and lateral agility, with the ability to be the looper in stunts and twists, at times stunting several gaps and and rushing from the outside.
His athletic traits show up in run defense as well. Kinlaw has the ability to disrupt running plays in the backfield a force backs to redirect to cut-back lanes, as well as the strength to control blockers and shed blocks to make tackles around the line of scrimmage. His length and strength allow him to play as a 2-gap player as well as a 1-gap penetrator, while his agility gives him a large tackle radius.
Kinlaw’s primary weakness is one of consistency. He generally uses good technique and pad level, but can have lapses on occasion. In those instances, his hand usage can become sloppy and he will let his hips rise and compromise his leverage. Kinlaw also needs to play with a more consistent motor. There are snaps where he doesn’t explode off the ball or hustle in pursuit of the play.
Overall Grade: 7.1 - Has the traits to be an immediate impact starter with Pro Bowl upside. He should quickly emerge as a top player on the team and could be a perennial Pro Bowl player. A Top 10 value. [Grading Scale]
Javon Kinlaw projects as a starting interior defensive lineman with Pro Bowl and All-Pro potential in any scheme.
Kinlaw has simply jaw-dropping power, explosiveness, and athleticism, particularly for a player who’s size normally reserved for immobile block-eaters. Kinlaw has the potential to be a nightmare matchup for any offensive lineman in the NFL, and a player who commands double-teams. He has the ability to wreck any play in which he is not accounted for, and should be a hand-full for even the best offensive linemen.
Kinlaw is truly scheme diverse, able to play any alignment or gap technique, and even rush off the edge on occasion as a 5 or 7-technique.
And while most big, powerful, and athletic defensive line prospects rely on their power and athletic ability to overwhelm collegiate blockers, Kinlaw also shows crisp pass rush moves to win with finesse as well as athletic dominance.
While his upside is exciting, to say the least, Kinlaw has issues he needs to address to reach his ceiling at the NFL level. The first is a tendency to lose his knee bend and hip level, which compromises his leverage. As a tall tackle, Kinlaw will need to keep his pad level low to maximize his explosive power against NFL caliber blockers.
The second is to play with consistent aggression. Kinlaw occasionally has plays in which he visibly throttles back and shows less effort and hustle. That’s disappointing because when he goes on runs where he shows consistently high effort, he is simply dominant.
Assuming Kinlaw can play with consistent leverage and effort, it is difficult to not sound hyperbolic about him. His potential is on the order of a player like a young Albert Haynesworth, Ndamukong Suh coming out of Nebraska, or perhaps even a big Aaron Donald.