Day one of the 2020 NFL Draft is in the books and Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch got it right with their first two picks. They did not get the star wide receiver that most of Niner Faithful had hoped for, but they filled the necessary voids. Javon Kinlaw and Brandon Aiyuk, welcome to the Bay Area, you will fit right in!
Last offseason, John Lynch made it very clear that he wanted to build this team through the defensive line. The 49ers investing in their defensive line should really come as no surprise at this point. This is the fifth time in six years that they have used their first pick on a defensive linemen. Kinlaw has big shoes to fill with Buckner gone, but his presence adds depth to the already deep defensive line.
I liked this pick for the 49ers because even though they have depth in DJ Jones and Ronald Blair, they both suffered season ending injuries and their health will be a concern going into the new season. Kinlaw has had knee issues in the past, but currently has no issues health wise and should contribute right away.
I’ve stated this before, but I will say it again: Kinlaw is a monster. His stats weren’t so eye popping, but his highlight film sure was. What really caught my eye with Kinlaw is his motor. He plays a high number of snaps, but his motor remains high. His ability to rush the passer also stands out. He had a pass rush grade of 90.7, which was the highest among interior linemen in this draft class.
Also, after learning about his road to the NFL, how could you not root for the guy to succeed?
Niner faithful was torn about the decision to draft Kinlaw with their first pick. I understand that it was not the sexy pick, but you have to take a look at the team that Shanahan and Lynch have put together and ask yourself: Is this a sexy team? The answer is no, but this team has made it a point to find all the necessary pieces to contend for a Super Bowl. Whether you like this pick or not, it was a steal. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Von Miller’s reaction when the Denver Broncos just missed out on Kinlaw.
I recently discussed that the 49ers should look to trade their 31st pick and inquire about Odell Beckham Jr. to see if they could pull that off. It does not look like Lynch and Shanahan made the effort to do so, which is fine because they ended up trading up in the draft to draft Aiyuk. They gave up the 31st, 117 and 176th pick to get him, but there is a chance that the 49ers will have the opportunity to gain more picks after trading Marquise Goodwin or even Matt Breida.
What catches my eye about Aiyuk is his yards after catch ability, his punt return ability and his elite footwork. Also, while watching the draft, it was stated that he has an 81 inch wingspan while standing at 5’11. He is the perfect fit for this team and is going to have the opportunity to make an impact right away and take some of the pressure off Deebo Samuel and Kendrick Bourne.
Another thing that caught my eye was the fact that Kyle Shanahan said this was his favorite receiver available. He liked him so much that he traded up to get him because he got word that he would not be available by the time the 31st pick rolled around. When I heard that, I said to myself, “Well if Kyle likes him, I like him.”
Steve Smith Sr. knows a little bit about football and he had nothing but praise for the Arizona State wide receiver.
My message to Niner faithful: Lynch and Shanahan took the 49ers organization from the dumpster fire that it was when they inherited it in 2017, to the Super Bowl contending team that it is now. These guys do this for a living and spent a good amount of time looking at prospects and seeing who would fit best in the 49ers offense. My suggestion is sit back, stop playing part-time GM and let the experts do what they do best. Truth be told, these guys are a step ahead. As much as it hurt to lose Buckner and Sanders, we have replaced them with young talent and they will have the opportunity to win you guys over.
The 49ers do not have another pick until the fifth round as of righ now. Trading Goodwin could possibly change that, but right now they have a bit of a wait. My hope is that they can strengthen that offensive line a bit and possibly get a little bit of depth in the cornerback position. I trust Shanahan and Lynch to continue to make the right decisions here in the draft and keep the NFC running through Santa Clara for years to come.