At this point, it's looking like San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks will be on the team next season. I'm not sure what to expect out of that side of the defense. Brooks is making too much money to just be a backup and I'm worried that will lead to Aaron Lynch getting fewer snaps as a result.
I've said it before: Brooks has had a successful run with the 49ers, and he is probably a more complete player than Lynch at this stage in their careers. But Lynch was a better pass-rusher last season, and I think they're actively worse when Lynch is on the bench. But then again, with Patrick Willis and Chris Borland gone, the 49ers might want Brooks to drop into coverage more often. So I don't really know what's going to happen there.
Aldon Smith is obviously not a concern, as far as on-field production goes. Smith is one of the most-talented pass-rushers in the NFL and it's an absolute travesty we're not sitting here talking about him having a monster contract, multiple Pro Bowls and possibly even the NFL sack record. He's got that talent. He's got that ability. But he's got in his own way so many times we can't say for certain that the 49ers are OK at the position going forward.
Yesterday, Fooch took a look at running back Carlos Hyde and set an over/under on his yards, carries and yards per carry average. I'm going to keep that rolling with an over/under for each of Smith, Brooks and Lynch and their sacks. Given we don't really know how the team views Lynch as far as full-time starter status is concerned, this isn't the easiest thing to do.
Last season, 49ers outside linebackers accounted for 19 total sacks, which includes five sacks from Dan Skuta, who has departed in free agency. Smith accounted for just two sacks, and both Brooks and Lynch had six sacks. Brooks had considerably more snaps than Lynch, it's worth noting. The highest total for Smith in a single season is 19.5, set in 2012. The highest for Brooks: 8.5 sacks in 2013.
For Smith, I think I'm going to set an over/under of 12.0 sacks. That might be a little high, but if he plays a full season he should eclipse that mark. Putting up 12.0 sacks would rank him in the top 10 in the league a season ago, but only just. For Brooks, I'm going to set an over/under of 5.5 sacks and for Lynch I'm going to set an over/under of 6.0 sacks.
Am I way off beat here? I would personally go with the over on two of those (guess which), but I'm interested to see where you lot go with it.