Photo credit: Michael Zagaris / Getty Images
Sport Author: Jon Kuzma
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Every rookie has high expectations when they’re entering the NFL. These are individuals who had success at every stop before they became professional athletes. Yet it’s so difficult to transition to the next level because the competition gets even harder.
That didn’t prevent 49ers rookie linebacker Fred Warner from bursting onto the seen though. The former third round pick recorded 124 tackles in 2018 and he did that while filling in for Malcolm Smith. Reuben Foster also got cut halfway through the season so Warner’s emergence couldn’t have come at a better time. What he essentially did was turn a weakness into a strength. Clearly John Lynch hit on this mid-round selection and a lot of Warner’s success can be traced back to his instincts. This is a player who can shoot through the gap’s so quickly and it seems like he’s always making plays in the offensive backfield. It all starts with a good read step which is used to build momentum. Then Warner collides with running backs and lays it all out on the field for his team. By proving himself Fred Warner has gained (defensive coordinator) Robert Saleh’s trust. Therefore the young defender is stepping into a leadership role in 2019 and now San Francisco expects him to set an example for everyone else. Producing a large output made that possible and the 49ers also added Kwon Alexander to make their run defense even stingier. Together those two should be able to deflate their opponents morale. They’ll also join Deforest Buckner, Richard Sherman, and Nick Bosa as the core of this group.
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Fred Warner is taking command of the 49ers defense.