Leading up to the NFL Scouting Combine, we will preview the top prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft based on The Athletic's Dane Brugler's Top-100 list.
Prospect in Focus: South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw (6'6", 310) SENIOR
Kinlaw started his collegiate career at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, MS where he was named the MACJC South Division's most valuable defensive lineman and also earned first-team All-MACJC honors. Kinlaw was a first-team All-American in 2019 and totaled 35 tackles, 6 tackles for loss and 6 sacks. Auburn's Derrick Brown is regarded as the draft's top DT, but Kinlaw is right there with him.
"In terms of potential, I'm not sure if there's much of a drop off at all," The Athletic's Dane Brugler said. "Brown is the much more experienced player, more well-rounded. That's why he's the top-rated player. You have a better idea of what he's going to give you both as a rusher and a run stopper. As for Kinlaw, he has some freakier traits and I think that gives him the upside to reach or even exceed Brown's level. He's just not there yet and there's no guarantee that he will be. Both are high ceiling type of players and that's why they're considered top-10, top-15 picks. Brown has the higher floor right now and I think that's the gap between the two."
2019: 35 TKL, 6 TFL, 6 sacks, 3 PD, 0 FF
2018: 38 TKL, 10 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 5 PD, 2 FF
2017: 20 TKL, 2 TFL, 0 sacks, 3 PD, 1 FF
The Scouting Report
Entering Senior Bowl week, according to Brugler, Kinlaw was a top-15 pick and he solidified his status with a good showing in Mobile.
"He was unblockable during 1-on-1s," Brugler said. "He has quickness, body control and used his length to introduce a few different moves to detach from blockers. He entered the week as the top non-quarterback prospect in Mobile and I think he left the same way. As long as the medicals are clean at the Combine, I think he's going to end up being a top-10, top-15 type of player and that's how we thought of him going into the Senior Bowl and back over the summer. He's checked every box along the way and that should continue."
Brugler said Kinlaw, who battled homelessness growing up in the Washington D.C. area, aces the eye test with "a massive frame and vines for arms." He reminds scouts of Chiefs DT Chris Jones with his combination of length, raw power and quickness that allow him to rush the passer from the inside of the D-line successfully. Kinlaw, however, does need to improve his consistency at the next level.
"At 6'5", his upright style can work against him, so he needs to do a better job of mixing up his moves and seeing that diversity can be his friend without relying on the length or the raw power," Brugler said. "He's going to be drafted high, but he's not going to live up to that draft spot unless he develops better fundamental consistency on a snap-in, snap-out basis."
Why Jets Fans Should Care
"As long as the medicals check out, Javon Kinlaw is going to fit into the top-15 somewhere with a good chance of going top-10," Brugler said. "With the Jets unlikely to address DL at No. 11, Kinlaw going early would push another talented player to them."