The San Francisco 49ers pass rush lacked consistency last season, and the team will be looking for improvement if the defense is going to take a significant step forward in 2016. The 49ers did not spend much draft capital on the outside linebacker position, but there is still some intriguing young talent that will impact the pass rush. The most obvious is first round pick DeForest Buckner. The defensive tackle led the Oregon Ducks with 10.5 sacks. The team also spent a fifth round pick on Ronald Blair. The defensive end led Appalachian State with 7.5 sacks.
The team will also be looking for returning talent to take a step forward. Last season, Aaron Lynch and Ahmad Brooks led the team with 6.5 sacks. The next closest were Quinton Dial and NaVorro Bowman, each with 2.5 sacks. Arik Armstead has two, Corey Lemonier and Eli Harold combined for zero, and Tank Carradine managed one. The 49ers ranked No. 29 with 28 sacks on the season. Only the New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, and Atlanta Falcons had fewer.
Sacks are far from the only measure of the pass rush, but they are a basic number around which people can easily wrap their heads. And so, I thought it would be fun to come up with a prediction for which players would lead the 49ers in sacks. Aaron Lynch is an easy pick, but my thought is that we can instead look at the top five. I've included a poll. I could only fit 25 players, so I did not include a couple players further down the depth chart. I think this list covers the players that will matter, and if we are surprised by someone not included (say Lenny Jones or Kaleb Ramsey), well, so be it.
For this poll, you simply need to rank out the five players you think will be top five on the 49ers in sacks. A player ranked No. 1 gets five points, No. 2 gets four points, No. 3 gets three points, No. 4 gets two points, and No. 5 gets one point. There’s arguments to be made for a lot of guys on this roster, so list out your five, and let us know why. I'll have results in the next couple days.