49ers draft LB Fred Warner in Round 3

BYU linebacker Fred Warner (4) gestures in the second half during an NCAA college football game against Utah Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Provo, Utah. Utah won 19-13. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SANTA CLARA — It’s about time.

With the sixth pick in Round 3, the 49ers finally drafted a defensive player — linebacker Fred Warner from BYU. Warner is an outside linebacker who can play alongside Reuben Foster, but probably can’t replace Foster if he goes to jail. They have different skill sets.

Warner should start at weakside linebacker as a rookie. Good value. Good pick.

GRADE: A-minus.

This article has 106 Comments

  1. Agreed, Grant. Underrated prospect that will allow Smith to handle Mike responsibilities when Foster is grounded, and Smith’s eventual replacement come 2019….

    1. But it’s what everybody is considering, nonetheless.

      Foster’s reliability is an issue, due to legal trouble, health issues that caused him to miss games last season, and his problems dealing with structure that others seemed to get through unscathed (freak out at hospital for normal testing).

      Regardless of Foster’s “issues,” Niners could not cover most tight ends in 2016; and improved when Foster came in. If this guy can take on tight ends in run defense, and cover a speedy tight end in space, I’m for the pick.

  2. My $.02 FWIW – Three rounds and three picks with excellent potential. KS and JL understand that football is a team game where everyone has to contribute and compete. Let’s hope they see a bigger picture than we do. So far no one has mentioned character concerns which is also a plus.

      1. That’s the way it looks to me too, Seb. And these guys look like the kind of high character guys I’d expect Lynch to go after. I HATE being embarrassed by guys on our team.

  3. https://draftwire.usatoday.com/2018/03/14/meet-fred-warner-the-most-underrated-lb-in-the-2018-nfl-draft/

    “I played out in space. It was more of a nickel position. I would come down towards the line of scrimmage here and there but I felt like I was very comfortable playing that inside linebacker position. That’s where I ultimately see myself at the next level.”

    “On the 4-3, I can play as a WILL linebacker who’s able to run and cover. When I would talk with teams, we talked about playing those positions.”

    “My ultimate goal is to win a Super Bowl and I want to be the best player at my position. I’m gonna work my butt off every single day and I won’t break. I’ll play an immediate impact for whatever team that drafts me.”

  4. From Matt Barrows twitter feed:
    Fred Warner said it seemed like the #49ers saw him a little more as a MIKE, which make sense because Malcolm Smith sees himself more as a WILL.

  5. from Matt Maiocco’s twitter feed:

    Fred Warner said he can play both the will and mike linebacker positions. “I think they talked about me playing mike a little more,” he said. #49ers

  6. Grant. What part of he’s not going to jail do you not get. Whether he paid this girl or the video of her boxing with his new “Bae” comes out. He’s not going to face any time in jail. Suspension? Probably. He will be on the field this year.

      1. You seem to know something others do not or a ace in the hole? What did you think of the safety or dB the drafted, dude ran a 4.32 , that is flying!

      2. Nor do you Grant. Remember when you stated that the DA already had a copy of the video with the fight right after it became public, but then her attorney said they *just* gave them a copy on Thursday?! No need for you to pretend like you actually have any “inside info.” LOL

        1. You guys totally underestimate Grants resolve when it comes to getting a story. He knows because it was him undercover ( dressed like a girl following Foster ) who got into that fight with Fosters girl friend.

      3. And what Grant. You’re aces with the judge and DA? I’ve seen this story over and over again youngster. He’s not going to jail.

  7. Big fan of the Warner pick. Disappointed they used two premium picks to trade up for Pettis instead of Oliver, but that’s why they get paid the big bucks and I’m sitting at home on my couch :) Hopefully they can draft a corner or two (Meeks), and maybe we’ll see a top pick at EDGE next year.

      1. I love Clelin Ferrell; he would have been who I wanted if he came out this year. But he’s a Top 10 pick, provided he doesn’t get injured or pull a Harold Landry. Niners will hopefully have to really trade up to get Ferrell.

  8. I have a feeling people are casting him into the Will without thinking that he might be the SAM? 6-3 with speed for the edge and can cover a TE? I think Eli Harold is gone…

  9. Given the way picks are going, it seems Josh Sweat should be the pick.

    But I’m not sure Meeks makes it to late 4th round, which is when the Niners pick again. JC Jackson if we don’t mind the off-field issues, maybe Anthony Averett from Alabama (though his size isn’t quite what Saleh wants, he ranks the highest), Isaac Yiadom.

  10. I would have taken Cain over Smith for the Saints, but their 1st round pick was a fiasco. As good a draft as they had last year, this one seems on paper to be the opposite….

    1. James Washington is good. Rudolph is a Roethlisberger clone, so might as well have him learn under the guy you most resemble.

      Steelers could have used Ronnie Harrison over Edmunds, and Harrison went in the 3rd round.

  11. Wow, I liked Moore but I had him in the 5th round. He’s ranked 98th according to Gil Brandt. Zierlein had him all the way up in the 2-3 round area.

    Superior combination of size, speed and explosiveness
    Ran verified 4.32-second 40-yard dash twice at his pro day with a 38.5-inch vertical leap and 11-foot-1 broad jump
    Arms dangle down his side at over 33 inches
    Asked to line up over slot and handle man cover duties
    Operates with smooth backpedal and loose hips to match route breaks
    Clocked speed shows up on tape with easy burst to close or to recover
    Turns to find and close targets quickly after recognizing play-action
    Has ability to handle combination safety role
    Impressive ball production in limited time at USM
    Able to blaze down the alley and catch running backs before they turn the corner
    Willing hitter.

    Dude is big and fast. He’s got future star written all over him if coached up proper.

    1. He’s a project, and projection pick as CB. With clear needs and players available to fill them, it was way too early. This was what got Baalke in trouble.

      1. Not much of a project because his tape matches his measurables. The only question is can he play corner, and I contend he’ll do it better than Culliver did. Why? Because he can turn and locate the ball on the move right out of the gate. Something Culliver might have been able to do once or twice in his entire career….

  12. We can’t always be lucky

    We had a good draft last year….we were due a terrible draft…..

    Wtf is going on…….

    Would have made more sense to invest in pass rushers and cb’ s based on what we saw on the field…..maybe we were watching a diff team…

    Just a fcking waste of picks…..i don’t wanna hear any talk of they are the GM and know better….no they don’t ……they havnt won anything yet…..if we don’t have a winning season this season….we suck

    1. Oneniner, why so glum buddy? … We got a stud tackle, a stud receiver, a stud linebacker and a stud db so far … This may be a great draft (time will tell, right?)

      1. Really not one of my happy draft days….you are right I am very gloomy

        The T made sense in terms of depth….then they trade the best T on the team…brings is back to square one…no solid depth at T

        A 2nd rd pick for a PR….it is true they spent more time evaluating returners in this draft…..but c’mon a 2nd rd pick for a special team player…..At best he brings more value as the 4th WR….but c’mon a 2nd rd pick……

        A backup LB in the 3rd..smh……a safety when we have 2 solid safeties with Ward and Reid available…..i think we also have one more promising safety who was hurt…

        And why move him to DB if you could have picked solid experience DB in the 2nd…..ex JJ or oliver

        I get the feeling coaches think they can better scheme plays than give credit to players….i can see the Texans game experience dictating this kind of thinking……..bottomline is we lack top notch players…..
        Instead we over valued the picks using the excuse they fit the scheme…..bullshyte….

  13. I don’t understand….will this guy compete with Adrian Colbert?
    I guess Ward is really going to play corner…..but don’t we need edge and corner more than WRs and Safeties??

  14. Moore played FS, but his athletic profile makes me think the 49ers will likely move him to CB. Or at least give him a look there. Crazy athlete.

  15. Shanny loves speed. Three freak athletes in a row! Trent Taylor for sure lost his job as punt returner to Pettis. Warner is a ball hawk and has a high football IQ too. I like how he tries to strip the ball out on gang tackles.
    Tavarius Moore is not Deion Sanders but his blazing speed and fluid running form reminds me of him.
    I trust Lynch & Shanny…..Speed kills!

      1. One –
        Re-read my post I think you misinterpreted it. I said he is NOT Deion Sanders. I was just saying his running form reminds me of him. That’s the only thing that reminds me of him.
        My next door neighbor is in a band and has hair that reminds me of Robert Plant… that doesn’t make him a rockstar.

  16. Ronnie and Merton played CB before moving back to S. We’ll see.
    Defensive team speed helps Bigly.
    Pettis bit of a surprise, but Shanny’s about: Seperation-R-Us.

  17. This is probably the best pick we made all night in terms of talent, need and value (where we drafted him).

    Overall, decent drafting by Niners. However, I feel like we drafted for need at every pick. In fact, we created the need in round 1 (because we didn’t like Trent Brown). We walked from at least two or three likely Pro-bowl players. Not sure McGlinchey will be better than Brown (scheme fit or not). Why not evaluate a healthy Brown this year and address OT next year with a better group of OT’s. If Brown has a great year, you can pick-up his contract (or trade him for something higher than a 3). Lynch and Shanahan fell in love with the player, and created need. I get it, insurance, but also a luxury bad teams don’t have. Also, that approach will eventually get you in trouble when drafting high. It should be BPA all-day. If BPA meets need, even better.

    Dante Pettis. Why was he a need pick? I think Shanahan felt like he didn’t have that type of player in his hand. Again, better players were clearly available at other positions that also filled immediate needs for us.

    Moore? Way too early for a PURE-projection pick (very Baalke-like).

    Teams that got better (so far) ? Cardinal, Eagles, Jaguars, Ravens, Giants, Broncos, Bears, Chargers, to name a few.
    Teams that stayed same? Niners, Cowboys, Colts, Raiders, Jets, and several others.
    Teams that got worse? Seahawks. By virtue of everyone else improving (or staying same) they got worse. Love it.

    Summary: We needed to get better. Based on our schedule, I could see a two-game swing in terms losses. I had us at 10-6. Now, 9-7 or 8-8 coming out. We could have improved and made 10-6 much more likely.

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