Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2020 Prospect Primer: DL Javon Kinlaw

The South Carolina product solidified his top prospect status at this year's Senior Bowl after an All-American senior season.

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South Carolina's Javon Kinlaw of the South squad runs drills during practice for the Senior Bowl Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Name: Javon Kinlaw

Position: Defensive Line

School: South Carolina

Height: 6-5

Weight: 315

NFL Grade: 6.70 ("Year 1 Quality Starter")

Stats: Named an Associated Press All-American after his senior season in 2019, defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw is one of the best defensive line prospects in this year's draft. He made 34 starts in 37 games at South Carolina. Has 18.0 career tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. What sets him apart though, is how well he plays the ball. He's forced three fumbles and recovered four in his career. Kinlaw also added 10 deflected passes and blocked three kicks as a Gamecock.

He was first team All-SEC in 2019 and selected to the Reese's Senior Bowl. Kinlaw was also selected by his teammates as the Defensive MVP, an award he shared the prior year. He came to South Carolina from Jones County Junior College where he spent his first year of collegiate ball. His first year in Columbia, he played in all 13 games, making 10 starts.

Comments: NFL.com's Lance Zierlein lists some of Kinlaw's strengths as being a 'menacing bull-rusher' along with his 'heavy, violent hands.' Both things can be attested to from Kinlaw's Senior Bowl performance.

That was just one of countless reps where Kinlaw showed off his hands as a big reason for his penetrability. Watch his tape and you see it over and over again. When he's left one-on-one on the inside, he beats his blocker and gets into the backfield in a hurry.

Not only that, but Kinlaw is supremely aware of where the ball is at all times. He makes play after play on it, whether it's breaking up a pass or blocking a kick, both of which you'll see in his highlight tape.

Zierlein conceded that sometimes his pad level and energy off the line can get him into some body control issues. But offers a remedy for that in his development at the next level:

"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."

Zierlein's suggestion at Kinlaw thriving as a 3-4 end should be intriguing to the Bucs. They'll likely need some help on the interior and an athletic rusher next to Vita Vea would really give opposing offensive lines some problems. Unfortunately, it's likely that Kinlaw will be gone by the time the Bucs are on the clock at pick No. 14.

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