The pandemic won’t stop the 2020 NFL Draft from happening. After all… the show must go on. Early free agency picks have taken place already, now the question remains, “Who will the Falcons draft first?”
Several mock drafts have the Falcons going with a defensive player to fill the roster’s gaps. In particular, Atlanta Falcons’ digital managing editor and draft analyst Mathew Tabeek is projecting that South Carolinas DT Javon Kinlaw could be a fit.
Tabeek and Falcons’ reporter Will McFadden discussed the prospect while in quarantine.
Falcons new tight end Hayden Hurst who also played at South Carolina responded to Tabeek’s mock draft with eyeball emojis and tagged Kinlaw’s Twitter handle. Kinlaw responded with a thinking face emoji.
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Tough to Pass Up
The Falcons get the No.16 pick and if Kinlaw is available, Tabeek thinks the Falcons need to go for it.
“I love his size if he’s there at number 16 he’s going to be tough to pass up. I just keep thinking about him next to Grady Jarrett, with Dante Fowler on one side and Takk McKinley on the other. It’s pretty exciting to think about.”
McFadden adds to Tabeek’s comment on Kinlaw’s strength and how he’ll demand a double-team.
“He’s so strong. And he has such a physically dominant presence and he will be that in the NFL as well. It’s going to be really hard for the offensive lineman to pick between double-teaming Grady Jarrett or double-teaming Javon Kinlaw because he’s going to command a double-team. He’s got that type of strength.”
Fitting Into the Defense
Tabeek believes Kinlaw will fit in with Atlanta’s defense and compares him to former big-time defensive linemen.
“I think he’ll fit just fine. When I watch him all I can think about are those old Jacksonville Jaguar teams with Marcus Stroud and John Henerson. Those guys were trees in size. They both played 10 years and were forces inside. He also reminds me a little bit of Leon Lett the guy they used to call ‘Big Cat’ for the Cowboys. He was 6’6″, 290. Those guys were 6’6″, 300 plus pounds and the thing is with Javon he’s at 6’5″, 320. He’s got huge size.”
McFadden details his size and speed combination and his ability to pressure the quarterbacks.
“The problem with that size is sometimes he’ll pop up a little bit. He doesn’t stay as low in his stance. He’s got a great get off. I think he’s got a pretty good motor that could be worked on a little bit in the NFL. It kind of tapers off late in games. And that’s when he’ll expose himself a little bit more to offensive linemen. But that dude for his size is so good at shoot through gaps in a way that Grady Jarrett does. That would be such an interesting combination on the interior where quarterbacks like Tom Brady who’s now in the NFC South, they don’t like pressure in their face.”
Lack of Versatility
The Falcons are all about versatility in players, but that shouldn’t stop them from considering Kinlaw.
Tabeek brings up a good point about Kinlaws ability to use his hands to stop the ball when he can’t get to the quarterback.
“I love a guy like Javon Kinlaw with those hands. Watch the video. He’s knocking down all kinds of passes.”
McFadden adds to Tabeek’s response and basically says that regardless of Kinlaw lacking versatility, the Falcons can just work around his strengths.
“He has a really good awareness of slapping the balls down if he’s not going to get to the quarterback. I don’t know how nimble he is and the Falcons like to run a lot of stunts that move their defensive guys around. I don’t know if that’s his strength but you can work with the tools that he brings to the table.”