Comparing Fred Warner to the Other Linebackers Drafted in 2018

Checking in on where Fred Warner stands among other linebackers drafted in 2018.
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Fred Warner has been a sensational linebacker for the 49ers, since being drafted in 2018. He has started every game since entering the league and has played at a high level. Warner has been everything the 49ers thought they were getting in Reuben Foster, who they traded up to select 31st in the 2017 NFL Draft.

You typically don't see third-round picks step into the starting lineup right away and have a tremendous impact on the game. That is exactly what Warner has done. For that, I believe Warner is the third-best selection ever made by general manager John Lynch.

Related read: John Lynch’s Top 5 Draft Selections

Despite his buzz-worthy play on the field, Warner has not received a lot of attention from the National media. At least not in the form of All-Pro teams or Pro Bowl appearances.

However, he has received the recognition he deserves from his peers. Recently, the NFL top-100 players were announced, and Warner placed 70th. That is quite the accomplishment for a player who was drafted 70th just two years ago.

There are a couple reasons I believe Warner remains overlooked. For one, he plays on a loaded defense who has its big name stars in Richard Sherman and Nick Bosa. Secondly, he’s part of an absolutely loaded ‘18 linebacker class.

The next step for Warner is to establish himself as a Pro Bowler and All-Pro. However, that is not going to be an easy task, considering who he’ll be competing with for those spots over the next several years. In his draft class alone, there are linebackers who have already been named All Pros and Pro Bowlers.

Below are the other linebackers from the 2018 draft and their career statistics:

Noticeable linebackers in the 2018 NFL Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 8 (CHI): Roquan Smith (6’1” - 236 lbs - 4.51 40-yard dash)
  • Round 1, Pick 16 (BUF): Tremaine Edmunds (6’5” - 253 lbs - 4.54 40-yard dash)
  • Round 1, Pick 19 (DAL): Leighton Vander Esch (6’4” - 256 lbs - 4.65 40-yard dash)
  • Round 1, Pick 22 (TEN): Rashaan Evans (6’3” - 232 lbs - no 40-yard dash)
  • Round 2, Pick 36 (IND): Darius Leonard (6’2” - 234 lbs - 4.7 40-yard dash)
  • Round 3, Pick 70 (SF): Fred Warner (6’3” - 236 lbs - 4.64 40-yard dash)
  • Round 3, Pick 73 (MIA): Jerome Baker (6’1” - 229 lbs - 4.53 40-yard dash)

Noticeable linebackers career statistics (including postseason)

Games / Starts

  1. Warner: 35 / 35
  2. Evans: 34 / 26
  3. Edmunds: 32 / 32
  4. Baker: 32 / 26
  5. Leonard: 30 / 30
  6. Smith: 29 / 27
  7. Vander Esch: 27 / 22

Tackles / Tackles for Loss

  1. Leonard: 311 / 20
  2. Warner: 262 / 11
  3. Edmunds: 248 / 16
  4. Smith: 229 / 13
  5. Vander Esch: 226 / 3
  6. Baker: 205 / 7
  7. Evans: 182 / 14

Sacks / QB Hits

  1. Leonard: 12 / 15
  2. Smith: 7 / 13
  3. Edmunds: 4.5 / 13
  4. Baker: 4.5 / 9
  5. Warner: 3 / 7
  6. Evans: 2.5 / 14
  7. Vander Esch: 0.5 / 2

Fumbles Forced / Fumbles Recovered

  1. Leonard: 7 / 3
  2. Warner: 4 / 1
  3. Edmunds: 2 / 1
  4. Baker: 2 / 0
  5. Vander Esch: 1 / 0
  6. Evans: 0 / 1
  7. Smith: 0 / 0

Interceptions / Passes Defensed

  1. Leonard: 7 / 16
  2. Edmunds: 3 / 21
  3. Smith: 3 / 14
  4. Warner: 2 / 17
  5. Vander Esch: 2 / 10
  6. Baker: 2 / 7
  7. Evans: 0 / 1

Turnover-Worthy Plays (Forced fumbles + fumble recoveries + interceptions)

  1. Leonard: 17
  2. Warner: 7
  3. Edmunds: 6
  4. Baker: 4
  5. T-5. Smith: 3
  6. T-5. Leighton Vander Esch: 3
  7. Evans: 1

Awards:

  1. Leonard: 6
  • 1st-Team All-Pro (2018)
  • Defensive Rookie of the Year (2018)
  • NFL All-Rookie Team (2018)
  • Defensive Player of the Month (Dec - 2018)
  • 2nd-Team All-Pro (2019)
  • Pro Bowl (2019)
  1. Vander Esch: 3
  • 2nd-Team All-Pro (2018)
  • Pro Bowl (2018)
  • NFL All-Rookie Team (2018)
  1. Edmunds: 1
  • Pro Bowl (2019)

4. Smith: 1

  • NFL All-Rookie Team (2018)

5. Warner: 1

  • Defensive Player of the Month (Nov - 2019)

T-6. Baker/Evans: No Awards

Warner clearly has his hands full when talking about taking that next step of earning individual accolades. Not only does he have to outshine the 2018 draft class, but also the other more established linebackers in the NFL.

The 2019 1st-Team All-Pro linebackers were: Bobby Wagner, Demario Davis, and Eric Kendricks. The 2019 2nd-Team All-Pro linebackers were: Luke Kuechly and Darius Leonard.

Aside from Kuechly, who retired this offseason, the linebackers above all have a few more years of football ahead of them. Especially Leonard.

Warner probably cares about winning more than individual accolades, which certainly fits the team first mentality that is extremely evident with this 49ers team. But it is within every athlete’s competitive nature to be recognized as one of the best.

The play caller for one of the best defenses in the NFL certainly has the ability to be named a First Team All-Pro and Pro Bowler. He’ll have to just elevate his play even more in 2020. We’ll see shortly if he could do just that.

Follow me on Twitter: @NinerNick_22