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49ers 2018 NFL Draft recap: LB Fred Warner

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49ers draft recap Fred Warner
© Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers added nine players to their roster in the 2018 NFL Draft. We break down the Niners’ draft, and discuss each pick’s expected role for the upcoming 2018 season and beyond.

 

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were full of surprises during the 2018 NFL Draft. While the 49ers added a number of talented players at key positions, they avoided the team’s most immediate areas of need — edge rusher and interior offensive line.

Let’s take a look at the third of the San Francisco 49ers’ nine draft picks:

 

Round 3 – Pick #70: Fred Warner, LB, BYU

While 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster‘s legal situation remains unresolved after his accuser recanted her initial claims of domestic violence, the 49ers were smart to acquire another inside linebacker as insurance against the short-term or permanent absence of their former first-round draft pick.

That insurance came in the form of 6-foot-3, 236-pound linebacker Fred Warner. While Warner wouldn’t be a direct replacement for Foster — even at 236 pounds, he doesn’t have the frame to play MIKE linebacker — he could pair with one of his fellow San Francisco linebackers at WILL linebacker on base downs, or he could enter the game in sub-packages to take advantage of his strength in coverage.

While Warner was listed as a linebacker at BYU, he played more of a hybrid combination of linebacker, safety and slot cornerback:

Warner — a team captain in college who scored a 32 on the Wonderlic test — possesses the intangibles and leadership qualities Lynch looks for in a draftee. However, Warner is in no way a perfect player, and needs to work on his tackling mechanics after often getting away with poor technique thanks to his athleticism. The linebacker also offers little as a pass-rusher.

Depending on Foster’s legal situation, expect Warner to begin the season in sub-packages and on special teams, or at WILL linebacker next to Malcolm Smith, Korey Toomer or Brock Coyle.

NEXT PICK: Tarvarius Moore, DB, Southern Miss

Chris Wilson is the Lead Writer for Locked on 49ers - part of the Locked On Podcast Network. You may have seen Chris Wilson’s work on NFL game theory, statistical analysis and film breakdowns at FanSided, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, ClutchPoints, Insidethe49 and others. Follow Chris Wilson on Twitter @cgawilson.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Leo

    May 7, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    LOL at the 2 minute mark when Warner delivers the hit to Joe Williams, who promptly fumbles. Let’s hope one of those guys can replicate that play in the pros while the other can fix that habit….

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