Round 3, Pick 70: Middle Linebacker Fred Warner
Entering the season, there was no way that Fred Warner should have been a starter. A converted safety to linebacker, Warner had excelled at BYU in pass coverage, but was simply not yet ready to start, especially at the most important defensive position.
Yet Warner played so well, he basically forced Kyle Shanahan to start him against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1. And following that game, he never let up. Warner finished with 124 tackles, a team high, and easily was the 49ers’ best linebacker.
Now, much like every player here, Warner wasn’t perfect. He was plagued with missed tackles, and his pass coverage needed a bit of improvement. That being said, to be a rookie and lead a defense is already a tough assignment. In fact, Warner was the only rookie to have the green dot on his helmet (that means he was the defensive play caller).
When adding this responsibility to what Warner did, it’s pretty obvious why he deserves an A-grade this season.