Why is Nobody talking about Aaron Lynch among the better Edge Rushers?

We know the story. Played DT as a freshman at Notre Dame and flashed remarkable ability. If you didn’t know any better, JJ  Watt comparisons were valid. He really played like his hair was on fire. He had some bad weight on him, transferred schools, lost weight, and now he’s an edge rusher. 40 or so pounds lighter and not that much really changed, other than the hair on fire part.

Where he Wins

  • Very Flexible around the edge
  • Good snap anticipation paired with excellent closing speed-Great combo to have
  • Still has the strength from when he was a DT
  • Powerful, violent hands. Jolts Offensive lineman back
  • Advanced skill set as a pass rusher
  • Very Good Athlete-shows dropping in coverage
  • Incredible Length. Incredible.

Where He’ll need to Improve

  • Playing with better leverage. Stands straight up a lot
  • Has literally no idea how long his arms are. Doesn’t use his length at all
  • Not a “see through the QB” rusher. Way too involved with OL
  • More snap anticipation than and explosive first step & around the edge
  • Though he has powerful hands, could do a better job of hand fighting/disengaging

 

Grade/Final Thought

Multiple Pro Bowl Player, Top 10   8.5 – 9.0
Highly Productive Starter, 1st Round   8.0 – 8.4
Very Good Starter, Early 2nd Round   7.8 – 7.9
Reliable Starter, 2nd Round   7.5 – 7.7
Potential Starter in Year 2, 3rd Round   7.0 – 7.4
Backup/Spot Starter, 4th Round   6.5 – 6.9
Productive Backup, 5th Round   6.0 – 6.4
Very Good Backup/STs, 6th Round   5.5 – 5.9
Quality Backup/Good STs, 7th Round   5.0 – 5.4
Backup/STs/Project Player, 7th Round   4.5 – 4.9
Priority Free Agent w/ Limitations   4.0 – 4.4
Non-Draftable     < 4.0

 

Trait Weight Grade
Vs. The Run 4 3.7
Pass Rush Ability 4 3.9
Read & React 3 2.8
First Step 2 1.8
Pass Rush Moves 2 1.8
Tackling 2 1.8
Coverage 2 1.8
Motor 2 1.5
Stack & Shed/Strength at POA 2 1.6
Feet/COD 2 1.7

Lynch grades out to an 8.06, or a fringe 1st round talent. He’s really frustrating to watch, because he has no idea how good he can be. He pops straight up out of his stance, losing the leverage battle instantaneously. From there he runs into OL without using his stellar arm length. This allows OL to get their hands on him and get underneath his pads. That’s where he loses, by not using his length and not doing a better job of hand fighting to keep himself clean. I don’t think his motor is an issue, he just doesn’t play with that same edge he did as a freshman, there’s a difference.

That said, he has an advanced skill set for a pass rusher. He has violent hands as he’s shown that he can jolt OL back with ease. He has an impressive arm over counter to the inside. He’s very effective on stunts. Finally, he has the hip and lower body flexibility that allow him to bend the edge. Combine that with his above average snap anticipation and excellent closing burst, it’s so easy to see how he’ll be a very good pass rusher at the next level. When/If he’s coached up to learn to use his length and play with better pad level, you’re looking at a top 10 edge rusher, he’s that good.