Fred Warner just might be the best linebacker in the NFL right now.
The 49ers' draft steal turned star was Pro Football Focus' highest-graded linebacker last season with an 88.6 overall rating, and the outlet listed him as the best player in the league under 25 years old. PFF currently is ranking their top 50 players in football right now, and through the top 11, Warner is the best at his position.
Warner comes in at No. 20 overall.
"Warner played the college “overhang” linebacker role at BYU, a kind of hybrid linebacker/slot corner, and has been a huge success in translating that experience into conventional NFL defenses, becoming one of the most complete linebackers around and anchoring that 49ers defense," PFF's Sam Monson wrote.
Through his first three seasons in the NFL, the former third-round draft pick hasn't missed a single game. He recorded 125 tackles -- five for loss -- one sack, seven QB hits, two interceptions, six passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and forced one fumble last season. Warner is averaging 122 tackles, one interception, 1.3 sacks and seven passes defensed.
He's about to get paid, too.
“I want to get it done, personally,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said late last month. “I kind of feel like I'd say the same about him as I did about Kittle when we were talking about it. I just see that kind of as a matter of time.
“I know he's not going into his free agent year or anything like that, so that's why it's not always on my mind. But Fred's a guy that I plan on being here forever and who has earned that. I'd be surprised if that doesn't start sooner than later.”
Before the pads come on for training camp in early-August, the 49ers know they need to get Warner to sign on the dotted line.