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2020 NFL Draft: Javon Kinlaw could be a massive first-round steal

When you think dominant defensive tackle from the SEC in the 2020 NFL Draft, most would think of Auburn’s Derrick Brown, who has a chance to be a top-five pick in April. However, beyond Brown is another dominant SEC player that has the chance to be just as disruptive and one of the biggest steals of the draft.

South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw has flown up draft boards in recent months and has been mocked to go anywhere from a top 15 pick to the late first round. While he may not be quite the prospect that Brown is, the Gamecock star is no consolation prize.

From a pure physical standpoint, Kinlaw stands out even among the biggest NFL Players. At 6-foot-5 and 324 pounds, Kinlaw is a handful and a half to deal with. Pair that impressive size with elite burst and explosion and it’s easy to see why scouts have moved Kinlaw up in recent months.

Kinlaw’s long frame is an obvious plus and he’s an excellent athlete for his size. He needs to improve his motor a bit, focus on his technique and is overall a bit wild at times but the pros heavily outweigh the cons when it comes to the South Carolina star.

Seen as a possible Day-1 starter, Kinlaw can immediately come in and improve a struggling defense while adding an absolute rocket in the middle that would frighten even the most confident offensive coordinators.

Additionally, Kinlaw is way more than just a physical specimen — he has the production to back it up.

In his last two seasons combined, Kinlaw recorded 65 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, seven passes defended and two forced fumbles.

The former JUCO product was named a first-team All-American by Associated Press in 2019 and if South Carolina had more success from a team standpoint, Kinlaw would likely be seen as one of the draft’s best prospects.

Kinlaw’s mix of incredible size, talent and production should make him an exciting prospect and a possible steal for whoever grabs him in the first round. He missed the Gamecocks’ last game of the season as he recovered from hip surgery but that isn’t seen as much of a problem going forward.

His performance at the 2019 combine will be telling of where he’ll end up in the draft but there’s no doubt that scouts will be salivating at the pure potential that Kinlaw exudes when he steps on the field.