Fred Warner has proven to be a versatile middle linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers during his first three seasons in the NFL.
Whether asked to lead the defense, stop the run, or move on to pass coverage, the former BYU football star is emerging as a household name in NFL circles.
How well known? Pro Football Focus believes Warner is the best NFL Under-25 player, which places him at No.1 in their recent ranking of the league’s best Under-25 players heading into the 2021 season. .
“Warner has become arguably the best linebacker in the game, a position that has become increasingly difficult to play given how good the NFL attacks have become for attacking defensive weaknesses,” PFF’s Sam Monson wrote. about Warner, who turns 25 in November. “The former third-round pick had a PFF cover rating of 91.1 in 2020, allowing for a passer rating of just 81.9 in his coverage, about 25 points below the position average.”
Warner just wrapped up his most successful season as a pro, earning NFL All-Pro First Team honors while anchoring the 49ers’ defense. The fourth-year pro Warner, who needs a big paycheck before a year on contract, posted a record 118 tackles last season, along with six pass deflections, two interceptions, one sack, two fumble recoveries and one. forced escape.
Warner ranks just ahead of several top NFL players, including one of his defensive teammates and the 2019 League MVP, with the top five being:
- No. 2, Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
- No. 3, Tennessee Titans WR AJ Brown
- No. 4, San Francisco EDGE Nick Bosa
- No. 5, Green Bay Packers CB Jaire Alexander
Jackson was named NFL MVP in 2019 and quickly became one of the league’s most electric young talents. His drop in touchdown percentage and the rise in play rate worthy of his turnover between his second and third seasons were the only negative points Monson noted, saying, “Jackson is still a dynamic playmaker who is probably dividing. the difference between those two seasons (his 2019 NFL year and the 2020 season) in 2021.
Bosa, meanwhile, only played a full season with Warner after Bosa tore his ACL in the 49ers’ second game last season. The 2019 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year was drafted by San Francisco a year after the 49ers beat Warner in the third round of the 2018 Draft.
Warner is one of two linebackers on that roster – the other is Roquan Smith of the Chicago Bears at No.16 – and the roster includes 15 offensive and 10 on the defensive end.