49ers roster 2021: Fred Warner more important than ever

Linebacker Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Linebacker Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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Fred Warner, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Fred Warner (54) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Fred Warner has been the pulse of the 49ers defense for the better part of his three-year career, but the Niners will need him more in 2021 than ever before.

San Francisco 49ers fans already knew they had a special player in linebacker Fred Warner, even as early as his rookie season in 2018 after being selected out of BYU in Round 3 of that year’s NFL Draft.

Leading the team in tackles his rookie season — and every year since, for that matter — Warner earned the green dot on the back of his helmet in year one, cementing himself as an early leader and eventual captain of the Niners defense.

A role he doesn’t take likely, as he could have held out entering 2021 amid discussions of a hefty contract extension that didn’t come to fruition in the months leading up to training camp.

It would have made sense for Warner to hold out, too. After all, the steady ascent finally resulted in him being named the league’s best, a first-team All-Pro in 2020 where he displayed just how important he is to San Francisco.

Fred Warner Defense & Fumbles Table
Game Game Def Def Def Def Def Fumb Fumb Tack Tack Tack Tack Tack
Year Age Tm G GS Int Yds TD Lng PD FF FR Sk Comb Solo Ast TFL QBHits
2018 22 SFO 16 16 0 0 0 0 6 1 1 0.0 124 85 39 3 2
2019 23 SFO 16 16 1 46 1 46 9 3 0 3.0 118 89 29 7 5
2020*+ 24 SFO 16 16 2 3 0 3 6 1 2 1.0 125 79 46 5 7
Care Care 48 48 3 49 1 46 21 5 3 4.0 367 253 114 15 14

Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com
Generated 7/16/2021.

Notice another thing about Warner?

He hasn’t missed a game. Even during last year’s injury-plagued campaign, Warner was a constant.

Yet the 49ers will need Warner to be an even more vital part of the defense, particularly in the wake of former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh departing to the New York Jets and first-year coordinator DeMeco Ryans taking over.

Let’s break down what to expect from “All-Pro Fred” in 2021.