49ers Fred Warner ranked 9th best linebacker by CBS Sports

Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Yes, the 49ers have a rising star in Fred Warner among their linebacker group.

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner has clearly made an impression on the league in his first two seasons as a pro. Though still without All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections, he is only 23 years old and is already being considered as one of the league’s best defensive anchors.

According to CBS Sports’ Sean Wagner-McGough, Warner is the ninth-best linebacker in the league, and he goes on to describe him as a gem within the Niners’ defensive group saying “Warner] has blossomed into one of the league’s best linebackers since the team drafted him in the third round of the 2018 draft.”

This is a huge amount of praise considering the players above Warner on this list are elite players, like the Dallas Cowboys’ Leighton Vander Esch, the New York Jets’ C.J. Mosley, the Indianapolis Colts’ Darius Leonard and finally the 49ers’ rival, the Seattle Seahawks’ Bobby Wagner.

I am expecting big things from Warner this season and expect him to solidify himself as a household name around the NFL. To do so, he will need to continue the superb tackling efforts he has displayed in his first two seasons and continue to show he is a force to be reckoned with in the passing game.

Warner’s talents are no surprise to die-hard 49ers fans, though. Most knew what the Niners had in Warner following his exceptional rookie season in which he registered six pass deflections, one forced fumble and 124 combined tackles. Warner shattered expectations when by vastly improving his second season with the team, registering nine pass deflections, three forced fumbles, one interception for a touchdown and 118 combined tackles.

One player I don’t think should be ahead of Warner is Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith. Smith is a great player in his own right, but he was by no means special this season. Smith, like Warner, was drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft, and while many expected Smith to make the same leap Warner did as a sophomore, he actually regressed. Smith declined in every major stat including tackles, pass deflections, sacks and QB hits, finishing behind Warner in each of these categories as well. Warner definitely deserves to be placed ahead of Smith following his electric 2019 season with the 49ers.

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Now, this is not to say Warner is without flaws, but it is safe to say he will continue to progress as a pro and keep showing that most teams made a mistake by letting him fall to the third round in the 2018 NFL Draft.