Each offseason, we like to run a series of articles here on Niners Nation called "90-in-90." In the post, we take a look at 90 players (or so) on the San Francisco 49ers 90-man roster throughout the offseason and what we can expect of them the following year. We take a look at their expected impact, whether or not they'll make the roster and things of that nature. For rookies, we're going back and looking at how we did with those posts.
Thus far, we've taken a look at Chris Borland, Jimmie Ward, Carlos Hyde, Marcus Martin, Dontae Johnson and Bruce Ellington. Today, we're going to take a look at outside linebacker Aaron Lynch. Like several of their picks, the 49ers acquired Lynch with traded picks. In trading their second round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars, they acquired the third round pick that netted them Martin, and a fifth round pick that netted them Lynch.
James handled the 90-in-90 breakdown, and he was spot on in some regards, and a little off in others, although not entirely through his own fault! In discussing Lynch, he said the sky was the limit for him, but he was not a guarantee to get on the field much as a rookie. Writing the article in mid-July, James mentioned that it would depend on Aldon Smith's 2014 future, and Corey Lemonier potentially taking over for Ahmad Brooks.
Smith was subsequently suspended for nine games, opening the door for the other outside linebackers. Corey Lemonier was viewed as a potential option, but he was quickly supplanted on the depth chart by both Lynch and Dan Skuta.
Lynch burst onto the scene in a big way, finishing the season with six sacks, six quarterback hits, and 27 hurries. He had zero off-field issues as a rookie, and was a serious force on the field. He is built like Aldon Smith in some sense, with the long arms and strength to bull through players.
He did not completely move past Dan Skuta on the depth chart, as Skuta put together a solid season for himself. Now Skuta is a free agent, and Ahmad Brooks very well could find himself a cap casualty in the next month. Aaron Lynch appears set to be a starter in 2015, but we'll see what the next few months bring.