Fred Warner – San Francisco 49ers
Warner could be considered extremely unfortunate not to earn a Pro Bowl nod last year as one of the crucial players on arguably the best defense in the NFL.
Superb in coverage, Warner is the archetype for the modern-day NFL linebacker, his athleticism enabling him to succeed in coverage against wide receivers as well as running backs and tight ends.
Similarly effective against the run, Warner had 118 tackles last year with seven for a loss to go with three sacks, three forced fumbles, nine pass deflections and an interception, which was returned for a touchdown.
Though the 49ers traded DeForest Buckner this offseason, San Francisco’s pass rush should still be potent in 2020 with Javon Kinlaw replacing Buckner and joining a group that features a trio of fearsome rushers in Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead and Dee Ford.
That triumvirate should create the pressure for second-level defenders like Warner to have plenty of opportunities for turnovers in 2020.
Warner has the skill set and the instincts to take advantage of those chances and improve on his impressive numbers from last year.
If he maintains the standard of play he produced in 2019 and finishes with better stats, it will be near-impossible to deny Warner again. Given the trajectory his career has taken so far, it is tough to bet against one of the league’s premier linebackers doing just that.