San Francisco 49ers: 10 Young Linchpin Players to Watch over Rest of 2015 Season

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Oct 4, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aaron Lynch (59) reacts after recording a sack against the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter at Levi’s Stadium. The Packers defeated the 49ers 17-3. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Linebacker Aaron Lynch

Second-year linebacker Aaron Lynch might have been removed from the 49ers’ Week 13 game versus the Chicago Bears with a concussion. But there is little doubt he’ll be a critical component of San Francisco’s defense moving forward.

Lynch made his mark during his 2014 rookie season with six sacks and has already surpassed that number with a team-high 6.5 quarterback takedowns this season.

The 49ers need additional pass-rushing help this offseason, but any and all players selected should be supplementary to Lynch’s abilities. At 6’5″ and 249 pounds, Lynch is a force with which to be reckoned, and San Francisco’s defense is clearly better with him on the field.

What has also been a positive is Lynch playing as an every-down player instead of just a pass-rushing specialist.

San Francisco’s fifth-round pick of 2014 is the type of player around which a defense should build. Expect the 49ers to look hard at how to do so this offseason.