Road to the Draft

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Meet the Prospect: Javon Kinlaw

Name: Javon Kinlaw

Position: Defensive tackle

School: South Carolina

Ht/Wt: 6-5/324

40-yard dash: Did not run

Bench: Did not bench

Vertical: Did not jump

Broad: Did not jump

3-cone: Did not run

20-yard shuttle: Did not run

View photos of NFL prospect Javon Kinlaw.

How he fits: Kinlaw is one of the more interesting prospects in this draft with one of the best stories, too. He was homeless for years and worked his way from junior college to South Carolina and is now considered one of the better defensive line prospects in this draft with a rare blend of size, length and burst.

Kinlaw's been productive for the Gamecocks, despite being a rather raw prospect who's won more on athleticism the last two years than technique. That opens the door for him to have a very high ceiling in the league once coaches get their hands on him.

His stats last season – 35 tackles and six sacks – don't really portray how dominant he looked on tape at times, though the tape also shows some of his inconsistencies.

The Lions signed defensive tackles Danny Shelton and Nick Williams in free agency, and also return Da’Shawn Hand, John Atkins, Kevin Strong and others, but Detroit could certainly be in the mix to add an athletic youngster to that group.

Kinlaw didn't take part in testing at the Combine, and his pro day was cancelled which isn't ideal, but he did take part in the Senior Bowl in January and dominated his competition all week in Mobile.

Key observations: Kinlaw's pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus was tops among all defensive tackles in 2018 and was second among all defensive tackles last year. The fact that he played considerably more snaps in 2019 than he did in 2018 and his PFF grade improved from his junior year to senior year is a good sign of the upward trajectory he's on as a football player.

What they had to say about him: "For a player with so many elite physical traits, Kinlaw's tape was much more inconsistent than expected. He had moments where he was able to use his size, length and power to overwhelm opponents, but poor pad level and an inability to harness his energy coming off the snap led to body control and balance issues that prevented him from reaching his full potential.

"He can be a disruptive force along the interior with that explosive first step and freaky physical gifts, but utilizing his heavy hands and plus length as a read-and-react 3-4 end might allow for improved technique, control and consistency. No matter the front, Kinlaw's traits and potential could make him a solid starter early in his career." – Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he stacks up: Kinlaw is widely considered the second best interior defensive line prospect in this draft behind Auburn's Derrick Brown.

Kinlaw comes in at No. 8 on Daniel Jeremiah's list of the Top 50 players in the draft.

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay lists Kinlaw as a Tier 3 prospect with a Scouts Inc. grade between 90-91 out of 100, which McShay describes as "good NFL starters."

Kinlaw comes in at No. 14 on Mel Kiper's Top 25 Big Board.

What he had to say: "I haven't even scratched the surface to my pass rush," Kinlaw said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "A lot of the times, I just be out there bull-rushing, just walking guys back. So once I get that right coaching, the sky is the limit."

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