To examine the San Francisco 49ers 12-man NFL Draft class, 49ers.com checked in with a college coach of each pick. We continue our series with...
The imposing physical specimen is now doing what he did in college, inflicting his will on teammates (and members of the Baltimore Ravens) in training camp practices. Lynch camp on the Physically Unable to Perform List, but he was on July, 27. He experienced his first NFL practice on Aug. 3.
So far, Lynch has been using his 6-foot-5, 249-pound grown-man strength to his advantage.
“He’s doing fine,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said on Sunday. “He practiced some last week. Didn’t feel he was quite ready, and for his benefit, didn’t play him in the game the other night. But he’s been practicing out here these two days, will continue practice. He’s making steady progress here.”
Lynch, 21, comes to the 49ers as a fifth-round pick who totaled 11.5 sacks in 24 college games at Notre Dame and the University of South Florida. Lynch transferred schools and found a home at USF under head coach Willie Taggart, a close friend of Jim Harbaugh.
So what does Taggart think about Lynch playing for his good friend? We picked up the phone and asked.
“The first time I put my eyes on him,” Taggart said, “I said, ‘Hands down, this is a first-round draft pick if he does all the things he’s capable of doing.’ I heard a lot about him coming into USF, and I made a point to really mentor him after he transferred from Notre Dame.”
“When he started to have success,” Taggart said, “you could see his confidence grow. He had started to have success in the weight room. Then he started lifting more and his body started to change. It was the same thing in practice and in the classroom. Every day he came ready to practice. He was the first one there and when it was time for special teams, he was the one getting all the reps.”
“We couldn’t block him in practice,” Taggart said. “It was like, ‘If he can do that against us, he can do that against anyone.’ In our game against the University of Connecticut, he scooped up a fumble and scored. It was pretty impressive to see him do that.”
“I felt like football-wise, he had everything he needed,” Taggart said. “It was just about putting everything else in his life into place. He loves football, if you teach him and coach him up, he can be an excellent player.”
“If there’s any team I wanted him to be drafted by, it was the 49ers. It was because of Coach Harbaugh and me knowing how he is with the guys. It is a great place for Aaron to grow. When he was drafted, I thought it was a steal. I know the way Coach Harbaugh is – he’s going to bring to best out of Aaron. And I know how Aaron is, too, he wanted that. I’m excited for him. He needed to be in a veteran locker room with a coach who understands the guys and a coach that is demanding the guys do it the right way. I just think the sky’s the limit for him.”