No. 1: EDGE Aaron Lynch
With reports a month ago edge rusher Aaron Lynch was overweight, and with the potential move of 2015 first-round draft pick Arik Armstead to the LEO position, Lynch’s hold on a roster spot seemed very shaky.
That shaky ground may be turning to a full-blown earthquake now, as the Niners signed 11-year veteran and five-time Pro Bowl pass-rush specialist Elvis Dumervil to a two-year contract.
With Dumervil claiming an aching Achilles slowed him down last year (just three sacks in eight games), the 49ers are hoping he can return to previous form.
Along with Dumervil, Lynch and Armstead, the team will have first-round pick Solomon Thomas sliding around the defensive front, Tank Carradine, Pita Taumoepenu, Eli Harold and Ahmad Brooks trying to garner playing time on the outside.
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Carradine, a 2013 second-round draft pick, has shown next to nothing so far in his career. Eli Harold has not panned out either, although he has only been with San Francisco since 2015.
At 33 years of age and accounting for $4.45 million against the cap, Brooks may be a cap casualty before the season begins.
Lynch, for all his faults, his salary ($1.846 million), his age(24) and his relative early success in getting to the QB (14 career sacks) may be enough to land him a roster spot.
If Lynch can return to the form that saw him collect 12.5 sacks in his first two seasons with San Francisco, he will give the 49ers a much-needed boost at pressuring the QB.