Could the athletic linebacker be added to the Broncos defense?
According to SiriusXM NFL Radio host Alex Marvez, BYU linebacker Fred Warner has a pre-draft visit lined up with the Denver Broncos.
[email protected] LB @fred_warner tells @SiriusXMNFL that he has pre-draft visits set with @Broncos @buffalobills & @nyjets. Already had private workouts for @Saints @HoustonTexans & @dallascowboys. Intriguing WLB/hyrbrid prospect.— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) March 29, 2018
This report is a few days old, but it continues the trend of the Broncos looking at the drafts top athletic linebackers. It was reported earlier today that Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker would also have a pre-draft visit with the Broncos. So they are doing their due diligence in this area.
Fred Warner is a 6’3”, 236lb linebacker who played his college ball at BYU. He played four seasons at BYU and put up some impressive numbers. During that four-year span, Warner totaled 262 tackles, 32.5 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, 7 interceptions, 2 defensive touchdowns, 13 pass deflections, 5 fumble recoveries, and 3 forced fumbles. This past year, Warner totaled 87 tackles, 9 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 5 pass deflections, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 forced fumble.
Here is a scouting report on Warner from NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein.
STRENGTHS: Size and experience as slot defender gives him some hybrid appeal. Possesses good length and fluid hips. Moves like a safety but plays near the line. Solid athletic ability. Change of direction comes fairly easy for him in space. Gets good production check marks over the last three years. Recovered five fumbles and grabbed six interceptions in that time frame. Team captain and active tackler. Plays with plus instincts. Quick to diagnose and trigger downhill for TFLs. Extremely responsive to quarterback’s eyes in space. Gets early jump on receivers when he sees it. Adequate closing burst to the ball.
WEAKNESSES: Takes inconsistent angles to the ball that can turn him into an arm tackler. Tackle consistency may be a concern on next level. Unclear what his best positional fit is. Scheme allowed him to play off the line and keep plays in front of him. Picks and chooses when to thump. Will need to add play strength if he gets moved into a standard linebacker role. Will click motor off and coast at times when he’s on the back side of the play.
Warner is another hybrid safety/linebacker player who can cover and does his best in space. He was a slot defender in college so he has plenty of experience as a coverage player. The Broncos already added a player like this in Su’a Cravens but could be looking for another. As I said earlier, they have been looking at these athletic linebackers a lot during the process.
He would give the Broncos another cover linebacker, someone who can play in more traditional roles in a 3-4, and someone who can contribute on special teams. However, if you’re drafting Warner, you’re drafting him for his coverage skills.
His draft grade is anywhere from early day two to sometime early on day 3. The evaluations and projections for Warner vary because of his skill-set. I think he would be a solid addition to the Broncos linebacking group. I would target that early third-round pick as a spot where they may target Warner.