Brett Pyne | Posted: 27 Apr 2018 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

Fred Warner drafted in third round by San Francisco 49ers

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PROVO, Utah (April 27, 2018) — BYU linebacker Fred Warner was selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the sixth pick of the third round and 70th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft on Friday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

“Fred is an exceptional football player and person and is prepared to succeed at the next level,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. “Fred has earned this opportunity, and I know he’ll take full advantage it. With his size and his athleticism, he is able to be a cover guy and also play inside the box, which is a rare combination to find. He is also a leader and extremely smart football player who knows the game. I’m really happy for Fred. He will represent himself and BYU very well in the NFL.”

Warner was the third outside linebacker and sixth linebacker overall taken in this year’s draft. He was also the first player selected in this year's draft from a program in Utah. With his selection, Warner becomes the fourth Cougar linebacker and 16th BYU defender to be selected in one of the opening three rounds of the annual NFL Draft.  

Overall, the 6-foot-3, 236-pound linebacker is the 37th BYU player to be taken in one of the first three rounds and the 17th former Cougar to be a third-round pick.  The last BYU player taken in the third round was defensive end Bronson Kaufusi, who also went 70th overall to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2016 draft.

Warner is the first BYU linebacker to be selected in the third round of the annual draft. He joins Kyle Van Noy (2014, 2nd Round, Detroit), Rob Morris (2000, 1st Round, Indianapolis) and Todd Shell (1984, 1st Round, San Francisco) as BYU linebackers who have been drafted in one of the first three rounds. Historically, Warner is the 14th BYU linebacker to be selected in the NFL draft. 

A BYU player has been selected each of the past three years and in five of the last six drafts. The Cougars have been represented in 46 of the last 50 drafts and in 64 of the 83 conducted overall. Warner is the 141st former BYU player to be drafted by the NFL. An additional 182 Cougars have received NFL opportunities as free agents entering this year’s free agency signings.  

Warner is the 12th BYU player to be selected by San Francisco. The last Cougar taken by the 49ers was quarterback Brandon Doman in the fifth round of the 2002 draft. Current BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe, who was selected in the fourth round in 1983, is among the other former Cougars drafted by the 49ers.

During his four seasons at BYU, Warner started 42 of the 49 games he played for the Cougars at outside linebacker. A Bednarik Award, Butkus Award, Wuerffel Trophy and AFCA Good Works Team nominee, Warner was a two-time Phil Steele All-Independent Team honoree for the Cougars. 

The San Marcos, California, native led BYU in total tackles in his final two seasons and was a defensive playmaker creating turnovers for the Cougars. Warner made 86 and 87 tackles as a junior and senior, respectively, while amassing 264 total tackles over his career—158 of which were solo takedowns. His seven career interceptions ranks No. 2 among linebackers on BYU’s all-time list and his 134 return yards on those picks helped change momentum for the Cougars, including two he took back for scores.

Often asked to use his ball skills and athleticism in coverage for BYU, Warner also disrupted opponent backfields when needed, making 32 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks for the Cougars. He also forced three fumbles and recovered five balls on the ground while making 13 pass breakups.  

Warner graduated from BYU in December as an exercise and wellness major.


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