Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ John Lynch proud of Fred Warner, didn’t expect him to be this good so soon

Dec 7, 2019 at 10:00 AM--

Fred Warner is only in his second NFL season, but the San Francisco 49ers linebacker is already playing at what many consider a Pro Bowl level. He is one of the best young talents on the 49ers defense and the league recognized that this past week by naming him the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November.

General manager John Lynch joined KNBR on Thursday and discussed his 23-year-old linebacker and budding NFL star.

"Really proud of Fred Warner," Lynch said on the "Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks" show. "I remember watching him at BYU. He kind of played like a nickelback. Played out of the slot, and kind of thinking, 'OK, what do we do with him? Does he fit what we call a stack linebacker?'

"Really, the moment that it kind of becomes clear for me for the first time that No. 1, yeah, he can do that, we went down to the Senior Bowl in Mobile and saw Fred play that, and it looked very comfortable to him. Then you take the process further, and we brought him in for a 30 (player pre-draft) visit, and he just kind of blew us all away."

The 49ers went on to make Warner a third-round draft pick, and the decision has paid off for Lynch's rebuilt defense.

Warner racked up 11 tackles and two passes defensed against the Ravens last weekend and now has 92 tackles, three sacks, six passes defensed, and three forced fumbles through 12 games this season. Even as a rookie, he showed that the NFL stage wasn't too big for him. Warner took on the communications for the defense, a role typically given to a player with more experience, and flourished.

Even after the team brought in veteran Kwon Alexander, Warner continued to wear the green dot on his helmet and relay the plays from the sideline to his defensive teammates. That shows how much trust the coaches and players have in the young player.

"He's an old soul," Lynch continued. "He's got some wisdom to him, he's got some presence, and we felt like this guy could call signals from day one. But I'd be lying to you if (I said) I knew he'd be this good this soon, and I think that's all credit to him and his coaching. He's coached by a great guy who played the position, DeMeco Ryans and Johnny Holland, and it's been really fun.

"You love to see guys that work the hardest have success, and Fred Warner fits in that bill. One of the hardest workers, one of the most respected players on this team, and he earned that Defensive Player of the Month. He's been a huge part of our success this year, and very much a leader of this football team."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.

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