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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Cosell calls 49ers’ Fred Warner a top-3 NFL linebacker

Oct 1, 2020 at 9:44 AM--

Analyst Greg Cosell is a big fan of Fred Warner. While the San Francisco 49ers linebacker may be one of the more under-appreciated defenders in the league, that is changing. He doesn't have all the accolades just yet, but he shows why he deserves them each week.

Cosell, who spends countless hours analyzing game film, believes Warner is already one of the best in the game.

"I love Fried Warner," Cosell said Wednesday during a KNBR interview. "I think he's one of the top three linebackers in the league. I think he's a great, great player. And I think Kwon Alexander is a very good player as well."

That is high praise for the young up-and-coming NFL star.

Warner was already good when he entered the NFL. So good that the coaching staff entrusted him to handle the defensive communications and relay the plays to his teammates.

"There's a lot that goes into wearing a green sticker and calling plays," cornerback Richard Sherman said in 2018 — Warner's rookie season. "Sometimes the mic gets cut off in the middle of a play call, and he has to improvise. Sometimes the offense hurries to the line, and he has to call a play. All 10 guys are looking at him.

"He's done a phenomenal job, though. He's stayed locked in. He's stayed poised. He knows situations, and you've got to tip your cap to him."

Warner admitted Wednesday during an interview on 95.7 The Game that there were "bumps in the road" early on as he transitioned from college to the pros. Now, things have slowed down in his third NFL season, and the linebacker can absorb much more.

Warner was asked to identify one thing that he knows now that he didn't know as a rookie.

"Overall, probably just understanding offenses," Warner responded. "Early on, the last thing I was worried about was trying to figure out what an offense was trying to do to attack our defense or myself individually. I was trying to figure out what the plays were, where I needed to be, and that type of deal.

"Now that I'm past that, and I can take it another step, I'm able to really dial in on offenses. I'm starting to see similarities in each offense that we play and how they want to attack us. So then I put myself in a position to make plays, and help direct the rest of the defense, put themselves in the right positions."

You don't have to compare this year to 2018 to notice Warner's development. The linebacker currently leads the team with 28 tackles through three games, which puts him on pace for a career-high 149. Warner can even look back to last season, when he helped one of the league's best defenses guide his team to the Super Bowl, and notice an improvement.

"Even though it has been a short time since last year to this year, I feel like each year, there's always that jump," Warner explained. "That's what everybody talks about, and everybody looks for, is that next jump. Thankfully, I was blessed with the ability to really retain information quickly and diagnose quicker than most, probably."

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