49ers roster: 5 most important defensive players entering 2021

Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Fred Warner, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Fred Warner (54) Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers Most Important Defender No. 1: Linebacker Fred Warner

Yes, Nick Bosa might be the most physically gifted San Francisco defender. But Fred Warner is notably more important.

And some could argue Warner is better, too, anyway. That’s what Pro Football Focus said in their under-25 pre-2021 assessment, listing Warner at the very top at No. 1 overall.

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Warner, a first-time first-team All-Pro last year, has been the 49ers’ leading tackler in each of the last three seasons and regularly towards the top in that category across the league. But Warner’s value to the Niners defense goes far beyond just being around the ball a lot.

A defensive captain, Warner helps set the tone for the defense, not only with his budding leadership skills but also by being quite the playmaker — elements which include his two interceptions last year, two fumble recoveries and seven quarterback hits.

Chances are if San Francisco needs a big play, Warner will be the one doing it.

The unquestioned leader of the 49ers defense won’t just be important to DeMeco Ryans as a voice but also as someone who can back up statements with his level of play on the field.

4 possible first-team All-Pro Niners in 2021. dark. Next