The San Francisco 49ers could head into the 2015 season feeling fairly comfortable with their short term pass rush depth. They have Aldon Smith, Aaron Lynch and Ahmad Brooks, all of whom can get after the quarterback. They could use more depth at OLB, but not so much that it is a problem in 2015. Fooch's update: And yes, I forgot about Corey Lemonier initially. I'm not overly optimistic about him, but maybe a year of struggling to get in the lineup will lead to better results in 2015.
However, over the long term there are plenty of question marks. Brooks is a potential cap casualty at some point, and Smith is entering the final year of his contract. Add in that Lynch only has one year under his belt, and the position could be in need of some revitalization over the long term.
There has been plenty of discussion about guys like Randy Gregory and Shane Ray as potential options if the 49ers went pass rush in the first round. However, Matt Barrows raised a good point about Trent Baalke and the 49ers outside linebackers. Barrows pointed out that guys like Gregory and Ray might not fit the mold of bigger OLBs that Baalke seems to prefer.
Gregory weighed in at 237 pounds at the NFL Combine, and it sounds like there might be concern he is dropping weight rather than adding it. Even if you want to overlook the loss of weight, he is still nearly 30 pounds under the weight that we see from 49ers outside linebackers.
Shane Ray weighed in at 245 pounds. Barrows pointed out that it was 20 pounds under where the 49ers like their linebackers. When we get into the 240s, it becomes a little more nuanced. Aaron Lynch weighed 249 pounds at the Combine last year. On the other hand, Aldon Smith weighed in at 263 pounds at the 2011 NFL Combine.
I don't think this means we can automatically rule out certain players, but it does at least provide a little something to keep on our radar. As Barrows pointed out, guys like Preston Smith, Trey Flowers and Lorenzo Mauldin are all a little closer to the size the 49ers appear to like in their OLBs. Another guy that has the potential size would be Bud Dupree.
I do think the 49ers will add some OLB depth, but I would be a bit surprised if it happened on day one. If they stick with more of the size element, guys like Smith, Flowers and Mauldin could be available on day two.