Opening day countdowns are great. So are player profiles. Here at Musket Fire, we decided to combine them and create a Week 1 countdown-oriented, jersey number-dictated player profile series. Yesterday we looked at No. 46 james Develin, and the day before that it was No. 47 Michael Hoomanawanui. Because today marks 45 days until the New England Patriots open 2015, we are profiling No. 45, rookie linebacker D.J. Lynch.
Signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in early June after trying out at rookie minicamp, Lynch is someone you’re going to want to keep an eye on in training camp. At 6-foot, 252 pounds Lynch is a bit undersized, and a bit slow, to continue playing outside linebacker in the NFL, but inside linebacker could be his path on to the Patriots’ 53-man roster.
Over the course of his college career, Lynch racked up 230 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, two fumble recoveries and six passes defended in 48 games (26 starts).
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Lynch had an outstanding junior season at Bowling Green. He started all 14 games, totaled a team-high 83 tackles and earned All-MAC honors. According to Randy Carpenter of HustleBelt.com, that year Bowling Green fielded the best overall defense in the MAC and a top-10 unit in the nation. Carpenter went so far as to compare Lynch to London Fletcher.
This past season, Lynch missed five games because of a knee injury, hurting his draft stock. However, just ask any member of the Bowling Green Falcons—Lynch’s absence was noticeable, and affected the performance of the defense as a whole.
To make the team, Lynch will have to separate himself from fellow rookie Matthew Wells and a slew of veterans. In particular, Lynch will have to prove himself as a special teamer among special teams specialists Chris White and Jonathan Freeny.
Click here to get a visual of Lynch’s playing ability.
In case you missed them, here are the profiles for No. 48 Geneo Grissom No. 49 Joe Cardona, No. 50 Rob Ninkovich, No. 51 Jerod Mayo, No. 52 Dane Fletcher, No. 53 Eric Martin, No. 54 Dont’a Hightower, No. 55 Jonathan Freeny, No. 58 Darius Fleming, No. 59 Chris White, No. 60 David Andrews, No. 61 Marcus Cannon, No. 62 Ryan Wendell, No. 63 Tre’ Jackson and No. 64 Chris Barker.
Be sure to check back on Musket Fire tomorrow morning as we celebrate 44 days until Week 1 by profiling No. 44, rookie linebacker Matthew Wells.