Defensive Player of the Year: Fred Warner
The 49ers had so many guys on defense step up this season, it was hard to determine who should be the defensive player of the year.
After much consideration, linebacker Fred Warner gets the honor.
Warner had a fantastic season. In his second full year in the NFL, he had 89 tackles, four more than last season. Of those 89 tackles, seven went for losses. In Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers, he had a season-high 11 tackles and one sack.
In November, Warner received two NFL honors. The first was NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in Week 12, and the second was NFC Defensive Player of the Month. The three games the 49ers played in November, he racked up 29 tackles, three sacks and forced two fumbles.
But it’s safe to say, Warner’s biggest and most important play was this pick six against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium:
It was his first career interception and first career pick six.
As stated before, it was tough to pick out just one guy for this award. The defense ranked in the top 10 in most categories and certainly helped the team win the NFC West.
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There were a lot of questions about Greenlaw on if he’d be able to keep up with the pace of the NFL, if he was ready to step into an already top-notch defense and other nonsense.
Greenlaw quickly silenced the doubters.
After he officially took over for Alexander, he racked up 56 tackles, one sack and one interception. In the most crucial game of the year, Greenlaw made a season-high 11 tackles against the Seahawks on route to the Niners winning the division and taking the top seed in the NFC.
With the emergence of Greenlaw, the 49ers defense is getting stronger and that should scare the rest of the NFL.
It’s fantastic to see how many players stepped up throughout the regular season. But now the focus is on the Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs. Kickoff is Saturday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium.