With the No. 14 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers have selected defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw out of South Carolina.
Kinlaw, 22, started for three years as a Gamecock and will come to San Francisco as another addition to the 49ers defensive line.
During his senior season, Kinlaw led South Carolina with six sacks while also recording 35 total tackles, two fumble recoveries and two pass deflections.
Starting the day, San Francisco originally possessed the 13th overall pick but opted to trade down a single slot with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In return for the 13th overall pick and 245th (seventh round), the 49ers acquired the No. 14 and No. 117 (fourth round) picks from Tampa Bay.
After speculation that San Francisco would choose a blue-chip wide receiver after Jerry Jeudy (Alabama) and CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma State) fell to the early teens, the 49ers decided to fill the void that allowed them to trade up earlier in the first round to begin with.
Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who was selected No. 7 overall by San Francisco in 2016, was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in March for the 13th overall pick.
The move cleared Buckner’s $20.2 million contract from San Francisco’s books and allowed them to sign defensive lineman Arik Armstead to a long-term deal.
Without Buckner, San Francisco was left without 62 tackles, and 7.5 sacks-worth of production and the hope is that Kinlaw can help bridge the gap.
Also including Buckner, Kinlaw is now the fifth defensive lineman San Francisco has selected in the first round in the last six years. The other three came in the forms of Nick Boas (2019), Solomon Thomas (2017), and Armstead (2015).
Making a trade
The San Francisco 49ers made another trade in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft Thursday night.
Unlike the first move, however, which slid San Francisco back one spot and allowed it to acquire a fourth round selection, the 49ers moved up six slots to snag wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk out of Arizona State.
Trading the No. 31 overall pick along with No. 117 and No.176 to the Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco received the 25th pick in the first round which was used to select the Sun Devils star.
In 2019, Aiyuk recorded 1,192 yards on 65 receptions to go along with eight receiving touchdowns as Arizona State’s most productive weapon in the passing game.
Along with recording the second-highest receiving total in the Pac-12 last season, Aiyuk’s 18.3 yards per play average led the conference for receivers with 35 receptions or more.
Standing 6-foot-1 and weighing in at 206 pounds, Aiyuk appears to be the immediate replacement for slot technician Emmanuel Sanders, who spent the back-half of the 2019 season in San Francisco.
Sanders, who was acquired from the Denver Broncos last season, signed with the New Orleans Saints in March, leaving a large void at the slot position.
That coupled with San Francisco’s fleeting confidence in wide receiver Dante Pettis, who mostly saw the bench in the final weeks of the regular season and playoffs, mean that the slot receiving position is up for grabs.
Aiyuk brings an explosive nature to San Francisco’s receiving corps and his ability to create separation should make him an intriguing piece for head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Coincidentally, Aiyuk comes as the first receiver taken by a Shanahan-led offense since he began coordinating at the NFL level in 2008.