No. 3: SF 49ers Linebacker
Kwon Alexander, Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, Azeez Al-Shaair, Mark Nzeocha and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles
While there’s little doubting what the 49ers’ top defensive unit is heading into 2020, few would make the argument the team’s crop of linebackers should be towards the bottom of positional power rankings.
This, thanks to the trio of excellent backers, Fred Warner, Kwon Alexander and Dre Greenlaw.
Warner, who is currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list, is on track to be available in time for Week 1. And what makes this unit so potent is the fact most defenses are in nickel formations for roughly 60 percent of the time, meaning one of those three will be off the field for the majority of defensive snaps.
The expectation is for Greenlaw to be No. 3 on this list, although the healthy level of rotation and the interchangeability of San Francisco’s linebacking corps is a great boost to Robert Saleh’s defense.
It was something of a positive shock to see second-year pro Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles make the 53-man roster. Flannigan-Fowles, a converted safety, could be a prime backup in case of injury, and his prowess will be something worth watching over the course of the season.