The San Francisco 49ers could have a strong pair of pass rushing outside linebackers in 2015 with Aldon Smith and Aaron Lynch. Ahmad Brooks finished the year as a starter, but for pure pass rushing skills, Lynch was the better option in 2014. Add in that at some point the 49ers will part ways with Brooks, and it makes all the more sense for Lynch to get into the starting lineup.
All that being said, we don't know what Aldon Smith's future holds, we don't know how long Ahmad Brooks will be around, and really, you can never have too many pass rushers. And so, the team likely will have an eye on this year's pass rushing talent. And with that in mind, the folks at Football Outsiders have their 2015 SackSEER projections available.
SackSEER projects sacks in the first five years of a player's career based on a statistical analysis of all edge rushers drafted from 1998 to 2013. They break down all the measurements, but they include projected draft position, an "explosion index", 3-cone drill score, a metric called "sack rate as modified", college defenses passed divided by games played, and number of redshirts received or for which the player was eligible.
It is not surprising that Vic Beasley, Randy Gregory and Alvin Dupree are at the top of the list. Dante Fowler is actually a decent ways down. He is boosted by a high draft projection, but the other metrics do not benefit him. Virginia's Eli Harold and Mississippi State's Preston Smith are ahead of both Fowler and Shane Ray. FO's biggest sleepers are Lynden Trail (Norfolk State) and Davis Toll (Chattanooga).
A year ago, SackSEER's top projections were (in this order) Khalil Mack, Anthony Barr, Jadaveon Clowney, Kony Ealy and Kyle Van Noy. Clowney and Van Noy both dealt with injuries, while the other three ended up with decent sack totals last season.