The 49ers are supposed to have one of the best defensive lines in football in 2019, but it was one of the names you likely haven’t heard that got the attention of NFL Films guru Greg Cosell during San Francisco’s preseason win over Denver on Monday night.
Kevin Givens, an undrafted rookie out of Penn State, played 37 snaps and looked to have the best first step of any lineman that saw the field. Cosell went so far as to compare Givens to Falcons DT Grady Jarrett, who was ranked by Pro Football Focus as the best interior lineman in all of football last season.
“I’ll tell you what I watched him quite a bit coming out of Penn State,” Cosell told Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks on Wednesday, “And I kind of saw him a little bit as a Grady Jarrett type of player. Short, stocky, but very, very quick and somewhat dynamic playing inside. I know it’s a loaded position and sometimes guys lose in the numbers game, but he played a lot of snaps the other night. I think he’s an intriguing prospect.”
Despite the performance, Givens may be the victim of playing on arguably the 49ers’ best and deepest unit. San Francisco is expected to keep 10 defensive lineman, and Givens will likely be fighting with Kentavius Street and Jullian Taylor, both of which have been impressive in camp and were drafted by the team last season.
“Undrafted rookie free agent,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said of Givens. “He’s been doing a nice job. He’s got a ways to go, but from where he’s come from, he’s been really good.”
Givens didn’t just get the attention of Cosell. Brian Baldinger of NFL Network targeted Givens’ performance on Monday, and broke down his ability to get into the Denver backfield in an excellent video you can watch here.
“It’s a crowded room in San Francisco,” Baldinger said. “I don’t know if he’s going to make the team, but he’s going to make somebody’s team.”
Listen to the full interview below. To hear Cosell on Givens, start from the nine minute mark.