The Ukiah Daily Journal

49ers’ Armstead aims to mentor top pick Kinlaw

- By Cam Inman

Arik Armstead has had two months to get over the “shock,” that which came with longtime teammate DeForest Buckner’s trade away from the San Francisco 49ers.

Looking forward, Armstead is excited to mentor Buckner’s replacemen­t, first-round draft pick Javon Kinlaw.

For now, Armstead balked at comparing Kinlaw, the 15th overall pick, and Buckner, a second-team All-Pro last year.

“Javon is going to have his own career,” Armstead said Wednesday in a video conference with the media. “But looking at him in the limited stuff I’ve seen, he’s extremely talented, athletic, strong.

“He’s going to add a lot to our team and I’m excited for when we all get back together to start that journey, to help bring him along and up to speed, be a leader and guide him through his career, especially in these early stages.”

Armstead said the 49ers’ rookies have yet to join in with veterans in the Zoom video conference­s, this being the third week of the 49ers’ revised offseason program. He advised Kinlaw to study last season’s film to see the high standard and ways the 49ers’ defensive front flourished.

Wide receiver Deebo Samuel did not hesitate to vouch for Kinlaw, a former teammate at South Carolina.

“He’s a very humble, hard-working guy,” Samuel said. “He’s very chill when it comes off the field. He’s one of the best dudes when he’s on the field, and you can look at him and see he’s a dog out there.”

“I’m excited about the opportunit­y to play with him,” Armstead added. “We all have common goals to play together and start that journey, whenever that happens.”

Armstead was the 49ers’ top draft pick in 2015, and, a year later, he was reunited with Buckner, his former Oregon teammate and the 49ers’ top pick in 2016.

On March 16, that longtime union was broken up, as the 49ers’ dealt Buckner to the Indianapol­is Colts for a first-round draft pick. On the same day, Armstead signed a five-year, $85 million contract extension.

“It was of course an interestin­g day to say the least,” Armstead recalled. “A lot of excitement in signing back with the Niners. It’s definitely what I wanted to do. DeFo getting traded was a shock to me and I was trying to figure out how that happened.

“I saw that on the media then I called DeFo and we talked about it. Everything happens for a reason. It’s weird not being on the same team anymore and not playing alongside each other. But we’re both super blessed. He definitely deserves that contract, is an amazing player and he’ll do amazing things in Indianapol­is.

“I definitely wish we were still playing together but it’s kind of beyond our control.”

Enter: Kinlaw, a 6-foot6, 310-pound All-American.

“I told him he’s got big shoes to fill,” Samuel said. “He’s more than ready to get out there and show coaches what he’s capable of. I saw it first hand when I was (at South Carolina).”

• Quarterbac­k Jimmy Garoppolo checked in with the 49ers’ receivers Wednesday to arrange throwing sessions, if possible, which is currently not the case in Santa Clara County for at least through May.

“Jimmy told us where he was at, and a couple guys are going back a little early,” Samuel said. “I’m out here in Houston training with Jet McKinnon and a couple more guys.”

Samuel is also training with the 49ers’ new left tackle, Trent Williams, of whom he said: “He’s strong and to be that big and move the way he moves is kind of crazy.”

• Tom Compton called it a “no-brainer” to join the 49ers in free agency rather than re-sign with the Jets, and a key factor was his familiarit­y with Kyle Shanahan and his coaching staff. Compton played in the Shanahan system his first two years in Washington from 2012-13, and again in Atlanta in 2016.

“I think they’re the best coaches in the NFL,” Compton said. “They all work together well, it’s very cohesive, they’re very smart and are coming up with new things all the time innovating.”

How has the Shanahan system changed? “The foundation is the same how they go about attacking with the outside zone. To see how it’s evolved is pretty wild,” Compton responded. “The things added with fullbacks, tight ends, the wide receivers in motion, it adds so much to the playbook. It’s really cool to see how it’s evolved.”

 ?? NHAT V. MEYER — BAY AREA NEWS GROUP FILE ?? The San Francisco 49ers’ Arik Armstead (91) celebrates his sack against the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth quarter at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Nov. 17. The ball was ruled down.
NHAT V. MEYER — BAY AREA NEWS GROUP FILE The San Francisco 49ers’ Arik Armstead (91) celebrates his sack against the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth quarter at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Nov. 17. The ball was ruled down.

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