No. 1: Aaron Lynch Starts at LEO
Without getting too deep into the Xs and Os, base formations and nickel packages, let’s first explore the notion Lynch actually winds up being the team’s starter at LEO.
San Francisco 49ers
The LEO position, of course, is the right defensive end in a hybrid-like system the 49ers will employ under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. It’s reserved for the team’s best pass-rusher, and Lynch is about as prototypical as it gets for this role.
In base formations, however, the LEO may be subject to more running plays. According to Pro Football Focus, defending against the run isn’t exactly a top strength for Lynch. He posted a mere 44.4 run-stopping grade in 2016.
San Francisco does have some other options here to consider.
Chief among them are Arik Armstead and Elvis Dumervil, whom the Niners signed just a few days ago.
Armstead isn’t particularly good against the run either, and Dumervil — 33 years old — may be best equipped to be a situational pass-rusher at this point in his career.
So, by default, Lynch could be the primary guy to set the edge and see the lion’s share of snaps at this position.
It’s not ideal though. Lynch has never been a true every-down player, and his weight concerns may spill over into the regular season.