With the first of their two third round picks, the San Francisco 49ers started to address their defense, picking BYU linebacker Fred Warner with the 70th pick overall.
“…[T]hey showed me so much love when I was out there,” Warner said on a call with the media. “You know, just with how the coaches were talking and what they were talking to me about and going around and seeing the facilities, everything. It felt right. You know, obviously I didn’t know who was going to be giving me the call but I’m so excited, so happy it was the 49ers. Man, I’m so excited. I fit their defense so well. Yeah, I’m just so excited, I can’t believe it.”
Warner is 6’3″, 236 pounds and though he played the majority of his career at outside linebacker, it is more likely he will play inside linebacker in Santa Clara.
“…[T]hey went over film about how their linebackers play and they really like my ability to be able to break on balls, you know, use my hands to strike defenders and tackle, of course,” Warner said. “So they run the, where they have the LEO position, and then the three stand up linebackers, but yeah, I feel like I can fit in right away and do some damage.”
Warner said when met with the 49ers, they talked about him playing at both the MIKE and WILL positions.
“…[W]hen they were talking about those positions, they said they are basically interchangeable but the MIKE is the one that’s giving the calls,” said the rookie. “So I mean, I could play both for sure. I think they talked about me playing MIKE a little more. So wherever they put me, I’m going to go there and I’m going to work and I’m going to work my ass off. That’s it.”
During his tenure at BYU, Warner had 264 career tackles, seven interceptions, 32 tackles for loss, 13 pass breakups and 6.5 sacks.
“I think that’s kind of why they like me so much is my ability to play out in space and cover at a high level,” said Warner. “I’m more than willing and I feel like I’m very capable of being able to cover the tight ends and any slot receivers, because that’s what I was asked to do in college football…Every team I spoke with, they saw me as an inside linebacker, just because of my skill set, and they needed a guy who could cover, and that was me.”
Warner was also nominated to the 2017 Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Works team and was part of BYU’s True Blue Heroes program. He’s a character guy for sure.