Overall football intelligence is one of the most important player traits for defensive backs. As such, it is no coincidence that John Lynch had an incredible NFL career, and is now the general manager for the San Francisco 49ers. A Stanford alum, Lynch is incredibly bright and has a terrific grasp of football. This led to a stellar 12-season stint in Tampa Bay in which he was an unquestioned starting safety.
Selected in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft, Lynch developed into one of the league’s best safeties. It took two seasons for Lynch to catch on, but from 1995 forward, Lynch was almost always a lock to make the Pro-Bowl.
In fact, Lynch earned a whopping nine Pro-Bowl nominations in 15 NFL seasons split between Tampa Bay and the Denver Broncos. Over half of the seasons he played in, Lynch was considered an elite safety. That should speak for itself.
Add three First-Team All-Pro selections and one Second-Team, Lynch is one of the most decorated players in franchise history. He was a pivotal member of several playoff teams during his career, including the 2002 team that went on to win the Super Bowl. Lynch did it all, and was one of the greatest leaders the franchise has seen, which is something that is impossible to quantify.
To further prove how incredible Lynch was, he is now an NFL general manager. This is something that very few individuals ever get to say. Keep in mind that he did this after NFL games in the booth for FOX. Who can be this good at three different things in football?
I know this ranking is about what players did on the field, but Lynch’s storied career is not fully described without mentioning that. Still, even if his new job isn’t considered, Lynch is a lock for a top-five place in terms of the all-time greats from Tampa Bay. We have to believe he’ll be a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee in the not-so distant future either.