Update: LB Fred Warner (another game added)


Fred Warner, a senior linebacker from BYU, appears to be highly sought after this draft season. According to Alex Marvez, the Southern California native has visits set up with the Broncos, Jets, Bills, Saints, Texans, and Cowboys. With a 6’3 3/8″ frame and the athleticism that he possesses, you can see why.



Warner is an experienced player who has played in 52 games and has put up some impressive numbers over the years. He finished his collegiate career with 262 tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss, 7 interceptions, and 13 pass deflections.


At BYU he played a hybrid safety/linebacker role in the Cougars’ defense, a role that had him consistently lining up outside of the box, typically in the slot or as an overhang player in an under front. He had a lot of success out in space having played safety before, but mainly because he is a natural athlete.


He is one of the more fluid linebackers in this class who makes dropping to his zone with his eyes on the quarterback look easy.


Teams will be enamored with his abilities in pass coverage because he has the capabilities to play man, zone, or even pattern matching.


As good as he is in space,  he could be even more valuable as an inside linebacker. At the Senior Bowl, Warner lined up inside in the traditional Will and Mike linebacker roles and played rather well. His mental processing seemed quicker from pass to run because he stuck to his keys much better.


According to Warner himself, he sees himself playing a more traditional role at the next level.

“It was great for me to get a lot of repetition at that position because I played an unorthodox position in college. That’s not really a position in the NFL. I played out in space. It was more of a nickel position. I would come down towards the line of scrimmage here and there, but I felt like I was very comfortable playing that inside linebacker position. That’s where I ultimately see myself at the next level.”


While his play strength will not quite be up to par to consistently win vs. tackles and tight ends on Sundays, the closer he is to the line of scrimmage the better. It forces him to be more physical, a switch that he doesn’t always have turned on when out in space. And when you add physicality to his athleticism and understanding of leverage, he can be a true difference maker.


“Game-wise, they (NFL teams) saw me as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Weakside or inside linebacker, thanks to my ability to run and cover. On the 4-3, I can play as a WILL linebacker who’s able to run and cover. When I would talk with teams, we talked about playing those positions.”


Warner was very disruptive as an edge player over the course of his career, but that can be taken to a whole new level in his possible new role in the NFL because he is quick, able to avoid blocks and slide through gaps to disrupt runs before they can develop.


Warner is a scheme-versatile linebacker with safety-like skills, so he is going to be a hot commodity this draft. But he isn’t a finished product; he needs to increase his play strength and improve his angles to the ball and tackling. He averaged approximately 10 missed tackles per season in college.

He will more than likely chosen on day two or early day three and could see the playing field early in his career.


More Film


2016 BYU vs. Boise State






Warner is responsible for the C-gap but he is unable to disengage versus the down block.



As a perimeter defender Warner was picked off by push-crack blocks by wide receivers. Quicker recognition and awareness will help him overcome these situations.




Very good recognition by Warner on the gap run. Gets downhill, leads with his hands, leverages his gap (outside) then disengages and assists on the back when the running back commits inside.





I like his athleticism and angles in space but he isn’t an aggressive tackler. Here the offense runs an RPO and he closes the gap but then waits for the receiver to make a move instead of attacking the ball.



On this play Warner is along the perimeter and comes downhill to make the tackle. But again, he needs to improve his tackling approach and technique. Need him to wrap up the ballcarrier instead of just launching at him.



A similar play but later in the game and this time he wraps up properly.