Prior to Friday afternoon, only three of the 32 first-round picks in the NFL Draft officially signed their rookie contracts. We can officially add one more name to the list.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the San Francisco 49ers signed South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw to his rookie deal. Based on the league's salary slotting in the collective bargaining agreement, Kinlaw's contract is worth up to $15.5 million.
San Francisco's need for a defensive tackle became evident after the team traded DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for Indy's first-round selection in the draft. Luckily for the 49ers, Kinlaw fell right into their laps after they traded down one spot with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While watching Kinlaw in college, he was South Carolina's best player by leaps and bounds. The 6-5, 319-pound interior defensive lineman possesses a terrifying combination of power and speed. He impressed so much at the Reese's Senior Bowl that he opted to forgo drills at the NFL Scouting Combine. As it turns out, that decision didn't sink his draft stock whatsoever.
In his three years with the Gamecocks, Kinlaw recorded 82 total tackles (17 for loss), 10 sacks, eight passes defensed, four fumble recoveries, and three forced fumbles.
Kinlaw couldn't have landed at a better spot. He gets to play for an ultra aggressive defensive coordinator in Robert Saleh, and will line up alongside Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas.
With Kinlaw now on the books, the 49ers pass rush is going to be a problem for offensive lines in 2020 and beyond. Expect him to start and make an impact right away.