The San Francisco 49ers are already dealing with a talented outside linebacker with major character concerns in superstar edge rusher Aldon Smith, but that didn’t stop them from drafting a talented pass rusher with major character concerns today. With the tenth pick in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the 49ers selected DE/OLB prospect Aaron Lynch of USF, and that’s honestly higher than I expected.
There’s no doubt that Lynch is one of the most talented prospects in this year’s draft class, but he’s frustrating and saw his stock plummet due to these concerns. There’s a chance these concerns are overblown, but there’s a reason a guy with first-round tools fell to the third day of the draft: consistency issues and character concerns.
That said, taking a gamble on someone with character red flags is often overblown, because the only time these things come to bite a team in the back is if a team spent a large amount of money on that player or spent a high draft pick on them. The 49ers have done neither, so I think this is a calculated risk made by one of the smartest organizations in the league. Trent Baalke is a genius at drafting, and he’s made several excellent picks this year in Chris Borland, Jimmie Ward, Carlos Hyde, and more. I think we can put Lynch on that list, but he’s very much a boom-or-bust prospect; I consider this something of a fun challenge for Jim Harbaugh and Vic Fangio.