Can Aaron Lynch replace Aldon Smith for the 49ers?

Aaron Lynch made six sacks as a rookie last season, but needs to get healthy. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

The San Francisco 49ers parted ways with right outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who burst on the scene with 33.5 sacks his first two seasons but missed 14 games in the next two years because of rehab and an NFL-mandated suspension. His release creates a huge hole for the Niners in their pass rush.

So who fills that void? There are four viable candidates currently on the team’s roster. We conclude with a look at Aaron Lynch.

Gold strike: At 6-feet-6 and 270 pound Lynch is bigger than the 6-4, 265-pound Smith and, as a fifth-round draft pick last year, Lynch was a steal. He has already flashed that pass-rushing ability, his six sacks last season tying for the team lead with Ahmad Brooks. And while Lynch played in all 16 games and appeared to make Brooks expendable late in the season, Lynch only started three games. His first NFL sack came against the Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning. Lynch seems earmarked to make the switch from the left side, where he spelled Brooks last season, to the right, where he'd assume Smith’s spot.

Fool’s gold: Lynch has had anything but a good camp. A leg injury has nagged him all offseason and he looks heavier than his listed weight. As such, he has yet to contribute in team drills, Corey Lemonier, rookie Eli Harold and Brooks have been getting the snaps at ROLB since Smith’s release. The future might belong to Lynch, but the immediate future is all about Lynch healing and getting himself into game shape.

Monday: Eli Harold

Tuesday: Corey Lemonier

Wednesday: Ahmad Brooks