When the 49ers picked South Florida linebacker/defensive end Aaron Lynch in the fifth round last Saturday, coach Jim Harbaugh called Lynch a player in need of “direction” after a collegiate career that started at Notre Dame and ended with Lynch being characterized as a player who went through the motions of football without the requisite passion.
Lynch’s issues were further compounded by reports that one team ended a combine interview with Lynch early because they thought he was lying, which led to Harbaugh defending the pick after San Francisco made it. Harbaugh cited South Florida coach Willie Taggert, a friend of the 49ers coach and former player for Harbaugh’s father, with convincing him that Lynch was worth a shot, but not every member of the staff felt that way.
South Florida strength and conditioning coach Hans Straub went on Twitter to express his disappointment that the 49ers selected Lynch, who called himself an underachiever when he met the media after being picked by the 49ers.
“Thought an organization with 5 Super Bowl titles would have a stricter draft criteria. Clearly, integrity & character are not a priority,” Straub wrote in a post that’s since been deleted.
NFLDraftScout.com reports that Straub has been placed on indefinite leave by the school as a result of the message.
The 49ers have dealt with several off-field issues involving members of their team recently, but many of those players ran afoul of the law in one way or another. Lynch hasn’t done that, raising red flags with his lack of effort on the field rather than his behavior off of it. He’s getting a chance to prove that he can thrive with the direction that Harbaugh thinks the Niners can offer and there’s a good chance he won’t be around long enough to cause any problems for the team if he doesn’t.