This year, the Niners drafted two defensive linemen — Jullian Taylor out of Temple in the 7th round and Kentavius Street out of N.C. State in the 4th round. The Niners also signed undrafted-rookies Blaine Woodson and Niles Scott, while also bringing on former Charger 2nd-round pick, Jeremiah Attaochu in free agency and re-signed Cassius Marsh to a 3-year extension. The Niners struggled mightily last year sacking the quarterback totaling only 30 sacks all season.
Street played 51 games (35 starts) in 4 years at North Carolina State — registering 9.5 sacks, 123 tackles, 19.5 TFLs, 2 FFs, 2 FRs and 6 PDs. As a senior, he started all 13 games for the Wolfpack, tallying 3.5 sacks 38 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, 1 FF, 1 FR and 2 PDs. However, his best year as far (as sacks came) is his junior year in 2016 — when he posted 5.5 sacks in 13 games (12 starts). Street was a part of N.C. State’s standout defensive line, highlighted by 5th-overall pick Bradley Chubb. The line also featured 3rd-rounders B.J. Hill (69th overall) and Justin Jones ( 84thoverall). Street wasn’t able to fully participate in this year’s NFL Scouting Combine after he pulled up late in the 40-yard dash with a hamstring injury. To make matters worse for him, in March in a private workout with the New York Giants, he tore his ACL and had to have surgery on March 17th. Before the injury he was projected to go in the 3rd or 4th round, but obviously the injury made him suffer a serious drop in draft stock.
John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan (or as I like to call them Lynchahan) were well aware that drafting a player that has a torn-ACL would give all of the Faithful PTSD flashbacks to the days of Trent Baalke and his “Team ACL” picks. When talking about drafting Street, John Lynch said:
”With these things, you look both long-term and short-term, you take a look at your entire roster. One of the areas we came in to the draft with is a big end who plays over the tight end and a 3-tech and getting a little bigger. He’s a guy who provides that for us — not a projection because we’ve seen him play both spots — play both spots really well. We did a lot of research on him.”
When asked specifically about drafting a player with an ACL injury Lynch said:
“We are aware of that. We’re not trying to make popular picks, we’re trying to make good picks and we’re very convinced that this [Street] was just that.”
With Shanahan adding:
“I think that shows how we felt about the player. You are trying to talk yourself into other spots because you want to add now. We get excited, just like everyone else does — but he was the best choice.”
At 6’2″, 280LBS, Street is a beast! He runs an electrifying 4.58/40, verticals 40 inches, and last year he went viral when he squatted 700 lbs.(!!!!!) He has the ability to play outside, over the tight end on first and second down, and then kick inside on 3rd down to rush the passer in obvious passing situations. Street is a reliable defender against the run and excels as an interior pass-rusher on third down. He’s highest-graded game last year was actually the East-West Shrine Game, where he had two sacks and eight total pressures against some pretty good competition! Although he is thought to be more of a run-stopper that seals the edge than a pass-rusher. I personally think that he shows some flashes as a pass-rusher, he just needs to work on his consistency. He is tough, physical, and plays with high intensity and a nonstop motor that grants him the versatility to play defensive end or tackle, which I’m sure the Niners absolutely love. Street is motivated and grateful that the 49ers believed in him, especially after a serious injury like a torn-ACL. Posting on his Instagram the day he got drafted:
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