From homeless in DC to 1st rounder in San Fran: Kinlaw drafted by 49ers

Javon Kinlaw, who rose from homelessness as a child in Washington, D.C. to become a standout defensive tackle at the University of South Carolina, was selected in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night by the San Francisco 49ers with the 14th overall pick.

Kinlaw is viewed as the draft’s best interior pass rushing prospect even though he only had 11 1/2 sacks his final two years at South Carolina. But he had 39 QB pressures this season, according to SportsInfo Solutions, despite playing out of position at nose tackle for more than one-third of his snaps.

The 22-year-old garnered much pre-draft attention, not only for his 6-foot-6, 310-pound frame but because of his incredible backstory. Kinlaw was homeless for multiple stretches of his childhood, including a tough stint in Northeast D.C. Now, he stands to earn a $15.4 million contract over four years, with a $8.8 million signing bonus paid up front.

Kinlaw is expected to thrive on a defensive line that also has Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead and Dee Ford.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Rob Woodfork

Rob Woodfork is WTOP's Senior Sports Content Producer, which includes duties as producer and host of the DC Sports Huddle, nightside sports anchor and sports columnist on

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