Josh Norman was in the same Carolina Panthers draft class as five-time All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly. Now with the 49ers, Norman sees similarities between Kuechly and star linebacker Fred Warner.
"It's just their presence, it commands a bit of authority, a lot of it, just by listening you can tell his voice echoes through the front and the back end," Norman said of the two's parallels.
"What he's calling, he automatically knows what's going on. (When) he shows up, he shows up with a vengeance. He's getting to the point where he's starting to read where people are going to be. The thing that made Luke what he was -- he had a knack for the game. It's almost like he was an offensive coordinator playing linebacker, in a sense. He knew where the play was at before play even got started. He was already there, and those bulls up front were moving so nobody was able to touch him. And Fred has that here."
Norman quickly has stepped into a starting role for the 49ers' secondary, as early injuries to Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley have thinned what already was expected to be a group of defensive backs short on experience.
Kuechly was one of the NFL's most dominant defensive players in Carolina, making seven Pro Bowls before hanging up his cleats after the 2019 NFL season.
Warner already has one All-Pro selection under his belt with his 25th birthday approaching, and only is getting better for the 49ers.
There aren't many players who have the mental capacity for the game that Kuechly had, but Warner's athleticism and feel for the game have him among the NFL's current best linebackers.
It's high praise from Norman, but Warner certainly has proven he is capable of being named among the elite at the position.