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Draft Hunt: South Carolina DT/DE Javon Kinlaw

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With eight games in the books and the college football season winding down, it’s time to take a look at some of the prospects the Raiders might consider in the upcoming draft

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

With the season at the halfway point, we will start highlighting some prospects the Raiders may consider in the upcoming draft. We will kick things off by looking at South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw. Who would you like to see highlighted next week?

As a 6-foot-6, 310 pound defensive tackle for the University of South Carolina, Javon Kinlaw lines up all over the Gamecocks’ defensive front and can capably play at the 1-, 3-, and 5-technique spots.

With the Raiders looking potentially set at both starting DE spots with the steady improvements coming from Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell, Kinlaw could operate as an interesting chess piece to be moved around Paul Guenther’s front-4.

With supremely long, strong arms, Kinlaw keeps defenders off his chest and has elite block shedding ability. He couples those long arms with a powerful punch and quick get-off that allows him to win at the point of attack before unsuspecting offensive linemen can even get into their pass-pro set. Kinlaw makes a lot of splash plays because he can knife into the backfield so quickly, but he will occasionally get too far up field and lose gap integrity.

While he looks thin for a player standing over 300 pounds, the 22-year old’s strength is shown by his powerful bull rush. The pressure he can create on the interior from his bull rushing prowess collapses the pocket quickly and would form an ideal pairing with the sturdy Ferrell and tenacious Crosby. If the Raiders draft Kinlaw, he’ll likely start at the 3-tech spot and kick inside to a 1-tech alignment on obvious pass rushing situations.

Just look at how he dominates Georgia’s center on this play. Woah there big fella’.

Kinlaw’s biggest problem is pad-level, as he can start to stand up while pass rushing when he’s feeling tired. Endurance and stamina will be a major factor for him going forward. It currently is the main limiting factor on an inconsistent motor.

Another problem keeping Kinlaw from being a top-tier draft prospect is his lack of a pass-rush plan. He currently is only effective with his bull rush and rip move. Sometimes, Kinlaw will throw a completely ineffective spin move that looks flashy, but doesn’t actually get him anywhere. However, his ability to try spin moves shows that he is willing to explore new moves to see what works. If he can develop a go-to rush move and counter besides his bull rush, Kinlaw could become a premier interior force.

Due to his size, length and problems with leverage, some may project Kinlaw to play more of a 2-gapping 5-technique role, which Ferrell has been playing consistently this year. The Raiders could keep one of the two on the field at all times and control the edge to destroy opposing running games if they envision him in that role

Draft Range: No. 10 to No. 20 overall