That’s not to say they don’t think he can make an immediate impact.
“[He] is going to really be a perfect 3-technique for us and the way that we play,” linebacker Dre Greenlaw said, via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. “I think the way that [Nick] Bosa came and really showed his talent, I think Kinlaw can do the same thing and very well be the defensive rookie of the year. I think he has that potential.”
The 49ers acquired the 13th pick by trading Buckner to the Colts, since they couldn’t pay him themselves (the Colts were happy to). Then they traded down one spot, and took Kinlaw 14th, so the comparisons will be there throughout the year.
Kinlaw’s a bigger body who could help them with run defense, while still showing pass-rush ability at 6-foot-5, 319 pounds.
“He just embodies what we do as a D-line,” Bosa said. “Just the way he plays the run, he’s just a beast. He plays the run like we play it. He gets off the ball really fast and he’s just a giant human, perfect to replace Buckner, and I’m really excited.”
So no pressure, kid. Just go play like a guy who signed a $21 million a year deal.