Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Were you impressed by Fred Warner in 2020? 49ers LB says, “Stay tuned.”

Feb 23, 2021 at 5:18 PM--

According to Pro Football Reference, Fred Warner registered a team-leading and career-high 125 tackles, including five for a loss, in 2020. He added a sack, six passes defensed, two interceptions, and a forced fumble. It was enough to finally earn the San Francisco 49ers linebacker his overdue Pro Bowl and All-Pro nods.

Warner has a message for fans and analysts who were impressed by the linebacker's exceptional play — "Stay tuned." Maybe we haven't seen anything yet from the young defensive star.

San Francisco made Warner a third-round selection out of BYU in 2018. The 24-year-old linebacker has recorded 367 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, four sacks, 21 passes defensed, three interceptions, a touchdown, and five forced fumbles through his three NFL seasons.

Warner's Pro Football Focus coverage grade of 91.1 this past season was the best among linebackers. He allowed a passer rating of 81.9 on throws in his direction. That's more than 20 points lower than the average for linebacker coverage.

"Warner was clearly a good linebacker entering the 2020 season," analyst Ben Linsey recently wrote for Pro Football Focus, "but he might have come out of the 2020 season as the best linebacker in the NFL. Based purely on his position-high 88.6 PFF grade — a significant jump over 64.1 and 63.5 marks in his first two seasons — Warner was the best linebacker in the league this past season."

Despite all the accolades the linebacker is earning, Warner feels there is even more room for growth. He came close to winning a championship during the 49ers' impressive playoff run at the end of the 2019 season but fell just short. That has motivated him further.

"I have so much growth that still needs to happen," Warner told NBC Sports Bay Area last month, "and that's the great part about this game — is you've never got it. The moment you say that you've got something, that's when you lose it, and I think I'm just going to continue to get better because ultimately, I'm trying to get that ring on my finger at the end of this."

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