The 49ers used a first-round pick on Javon Kinlaw, in hopes that he’d anchor their defensive front, and he appears to believe he can do exactly that.
In fact, he recently vowed to become one of the best defensive linemen to ever play in the NFL.
Kinlaw had a solid rookie season, racking up 33 tackles and 1.5 sacks, until he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 15. He even racked up a pick-six in his first campaign in the NFL as well, showing how athletic he is.
This season, however, he’ll have the benefit of playing alongside a healthy Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, which should help his production. And he’s setting the bar high in that area.
“I’ve been learning this whole time,” Kinlaw said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “It’s been more learning for me than work, especially on pass rush being able to get with those two and pick their brains. I’m always looking to learn. I’m always trying to get better at everything I do.”
Soon after is when Kinlaw dropped a money quote.
“One day I’m going to be able to look back and say I was one of the best guys to do this,” Kinlaw said. “That’s just the mindset that I have. It’s the mindset I’ve had since I started playing this game.
“I don’t care what anyone thinks about how I am right now or anything like that. I don’t care what they say. One day I will be that.”
That remains to be seen, but studying some of the game’s most disruptive players in the trenches is a good start.