Video of Kentavius Street’s 700-pound squat put the defensive lineman on everyone’s radar long before his pre-draft process. The clip featuring Street’s Herculean lift and his teammates collectively going nuts went viral. It has more than 30 thousand views on Street’s Instagram alone since being posted last July.
N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren wasn’t surprised by the impressive lift. Doeren described Street as “a quick-twitch guy who has incredible weight room strength.” That seems apt given the video.
“To be honest, he probably could have had more weight on his back. Our strength guys were always worried about putting too much on him because you don’t want to injure a player,” Doeren said. “It was an awesome moment. I know it fired up our players. It got out quick. Social media made him a national name pretty quick after that.”
Street followed the viral moment with a senior season that featured 38 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Doeren noted Street’s performance in the Sun Bowl against Arizona State as the defensive lineman’s high point of the season. Street’s rise was expected to continue in the months leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft.
“We all thought Kentavius was going to be one of those guys who put up top numbers at the combine,” Doeren said.
But Street pulled up lame in the 40-yard dash at the combine with a hamstring injury. Things went from bad to miserable at a private workout with the New York Giants when Street tore his ACL.
Despite the injury, the San Francisco 49ers still used a fourth-round pick on Street. John Lynch shared that San Francisco had a third-round grade on Street prior to the ACL tear. Doeren was bullish enough to suggest that Street could have gone even earlier had he shown out at the combine.
“He potentially could have had a second-round grade or potentially a low first had he run a 4.6 and all that,” Doeren said. “He ran a 4.8 and didn’t finish. I think the 49ers are getting a heck of a deal there for where he was picked. Time will tell.”
When Street gets back to full health, Doeren expects him to be a nightmare for opposing offensive linemen. The coach shared that Street is a reliable defender against the run and excels as an interior pass rusher on third down.
“He’s very gifted. He’s very explosive,” Doeren said. “He’s a 280-pound guy who can really run and change direction. In the run game, he’s very dependable.
“He’s going to be where he’s supposed to be. He doesn’t make many mistakes. He’s got a high football IQ. He’s so dependable, and there’s a lot to be said for that.”
An area of improvement for Street is his pass rush ability on early downs. He’ll need to work on transitioning from taking on run blocks and adjusting to a play-action pass, something that’s commonplace in the NFL.
Doeren was keen to note that he believes Street will rebound quickly and added that the 49ers rookie is eager to prove San Francisco’s faith was well placed.
“I know he feels loyal to the 49ers for still taking him,” Doeren said. “He’s grinding right now. I guarantee it. He’s doing everything he can to come back quickly and healthy.”
The 49ers fan base is understandably uneasy with the selection of Street. They’ve been burned enough by “team ACL” prospects and won’t be sold on Street until they see his ability in game action. That might not happen until 2019.
But Doeren knows that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Street’s time will come, and he’ll have his shot to prove there’s more to his story than one viral video.