Colts 2020 NFL Draft Prospect: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 09: Javon Kinlaw #3 of the South Carolina Gamecocks before their game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 09: Javon Kinlaw #3 of the South Carolina Gamecocks before their game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

Javon Kinlaw would be a perfect fit for the Indianapolis Colts in the 2020 NFL Draft. Let’s dive in to his scouting report.

The Indianapolis Colts have some holes to fill on the roster, and the biggest one (outside of quarterback) is the interior defensive line, a group that did well in 2019, but lacks a true difference maker. If general manager Chris Ballard doesn’t see a quarterback to his liking in the first round, he may opt to fill the defensive tackle need.

In his end of season presser, Ballard discussed the importance of the 3-technique and having someone to boost the pass rush on the defensive line. The guy who could do that is South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw.

Let’s take a look at his scouting report.

Name: Javon Kinlaw

Position: Interior Defensive Line

Height: 6’5 1/8″

Weight: 324 pounds

Arm Length: 34 7/8″

Wingspan: 83 3/4″

2019 Stats: 35 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, 6.0 sacks

RAS: N/A (incomplete)

Film Assessment

Here, we will go trait-by-trait to see what Kinlaw does best and where he needs to improve.

Pass Rushing: Kinlaw is the best pure pass rushing defensive tackle in the 2020 draft class. He uses a variety of moves to create pressure from the interior. His push/pull move is very effective at disengaging from blocks and often ends with offensive linemen on the ground. Kinlaw can split double teams very well with his strength. Don’t forget about traditional rush moves, like the club/rip and arm over, two other moves that Kinlaw has in his arsenal. He can also win with a straight bull rush, and his length and lower body strength make him extremely difficult to stop one-on-one.

Run Defense: Kinlaw can stack and shed blockers with ease and is a great finisher in the run game. When he funnels toward the run, he can work through all the traffic to stop plays in their tracks. He’s an absolute menace at the point of attack and drives linemen back with ease off the snap and affects things behind the line of scrimmage. There are times where he gets over-aggressive and finds himself out of the play because he wins quickly downhill, but that’s a quick fix.

Hand Technique: Kinlaw has violent, strong hands immediately off the snap, and they’re always working. Combine those strong hands with excellent placement and you see why Kinlaw consistently drives opponents backward almost instantly. He has the requisite length to be a two-gapper and his ability to disengage from blockers will make him extremely effective in this area.

Gap Penetration: Another great area of Kinlaw’s game is gap penetration. His first step, combined with good athleticism and powerful hands, allows him to shoot gaps quickly and make impact plays in the backfield. Kinlaw can slip through doubles easily, and can attack gaps quickly to be a game-wrecker against the run and the pass.

First Step Quickness: It’s wild to see a 324 pound defensive tackle have the elite first step Kinlaw has. There are instances on tape where he’s out of his stance already and everyone around him still has their hands in the dirt. That allows him to gain initial leverage and win as a pass rusher.

Tackling: We’ve talked a bit about this. If Kinlaw gets to you, he’s not missing the tackle.

Football IQ: Kinlaw does get over-aggressive at times as mentioned before, and that does get him out of position and he loses a chance to make a play. His recognition needs to get a bit better going forward, but that will come in the NFL.

Change of Direction: When Kinlaw works horizontally, he lacks some quickness to change direction, which is a bit of a surprise for his athleticism, but at 324 pounds, maybe the expectation is too high. Effort is certainly there when changing course.

Motor: His motor always runs hot. Kinlaw never takes plays off and will consistently be in the backfield late in the fourth quarter even with playing a majority of snaps in a game. He’s a relentless rusher and always has something left in his bag later in the rush. Kinlaw will also turn and chase when the play is behind him and shows great effort there.

Versatility: Kinlaw lined up a lot as a nose tackle and a 1-technique for South Carolina, and he was able to use his strength and quickness to beat centers and guards with ease in the A-gap. He also worked as a 3-technique attacking the B-gap, which will likely be where he lines up, especially if he’s indeed drafted by the Colts.

Grade and Projection

Javon Kinlaw will get a first round grade in this class from me, and could even finish top 10 on the final big board. His abilities, especially as a pass rusher with his first step and array of moves, make his value tremendous.

Kinlaw projects best in a 3-technique role, something Ballard covets for the Colts. If the Colts don’t move up for a quarterback, Kinlaw could easily be the pick at 13 because of his ability to affect offenses in every phase of the game.

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There are some analysts who are worried about tackles for loss production. While there is some merit to other names in the draft, Kinlaw shows the ability to create pressure, and was split seconds away from double digit sacks. There just aren’t a lot of defensive linemen with his abilities, and he’d be a stud on the Colts defense.