Warner is a 6’3″ 227 lb OLB who moves with the speed of a corner! He was a 4-star recruit entering his college career. In 2016 he was “1st team all-Independent status”. This honor was earned for his tough approach to the game which brought him 86 tackles, 10 of which went for a loss. In his senior year, Fred started in his team’s 13 games and led his team in tackles, with 87. With 9 of those tackles going for a loss, he showed some nice flash to make negative plays, and that’s always a key stat I like to look for in IDP.
Warner was a bright spot for a team that struggled this past season. Leadership was evident as he fought and gave it all every play during a losing season. Showing some good tackling in space caught my eye early on. I like him in a zone defense where he showed the ability to burst onto the ball and make tackles. With some added agility in his game, he was flexible and able to knock down some balls in zone coverage as well. While he is guarding his space, he is comfortable in his role and quicker than a cat on his reads. Locking up in man coverage was not an assignment he was given very often. I do believe he would be capable in this role as he showed the skills needed to do so. I would love the part in a sub package for him where his coverage skills and ability to tackle is space would be used best.
In the run game, he showed good technique which is critical. Warner broke down and made the tackles. He was able to force 2 fumbles, and I am surprised he wasn’t able to force more as he delivers a BIG hit that looks like a high-speed explosion. Mostly Fred got after the run game in space which worked well for the Cougars. Warner showed well enough that he could bring it off the edge and make plays with his speed and football smarts to quickly break down what he is seeing. With him holding his own in his gaps he showed toughness and that he would not be pushed around. You can count on him in run support as well as the pass.
In my ideal fit for him, I like him in a pass defense role coming in on sub packages. In this pass-happy NFL, he will carve out a role with a defensive coordinator who can use players skills to work into their system. I am looking forward to watching him in the combine as he will raise eyebrows with his speed. This guy can move around the field, and his name will become known afterward. I do not like him as a MLB but could see a shot at the weak side in a 4-3.
This is a video of his highlights. My gut tells me he will hear his name at the beginning of the third round of the draft. His skill sets will have a variety of teams interested, and he really could land on most teams boards.
This is a tough call for me right now. I’m interested to see if the combine confirms everything I have watched on tape from him. I have him as my 6th LB right now and would make a nice mid to late pick for your fantasy teams. This would change a little after the combine and drafts, but not more than a spot for me. The upside is he would take on a larger role and become a three-down player.
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