The Bay is home to the best of the best in terms of linebacker talent with not one, but two of its linebackers headlining Pro Football Focus' "Top 32" list heading into the 2023 season.
Fred Warner is ranked No. 1 overall in the Tier 1 category ahead of Lavonte David of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Demario Davis of the New Orleans Saints. The sixth-year pro is coming off a tremendous 2022 campaign that resulted in both First-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors for the second time in his career. The veteran linebacker closed out the regular season campaign as the team leader in tackles (130) and also notched an interception and a forced fumble. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, he is elite in pass coverage, holding opposing quarterbacks to just a 60.3 completion percentage on 68 targets in the team's 17 regular season contests.
The other half of the 49ers dynamic linebacker duo Dre Greenlaw also made PFF's "Top 32" list as a Tier 2 linebacker, eighth overall. In his fourth NFL regular season, Greenlaw finished the year with the second-most tackles (127), an interception returned for a touchdown and two forced fumbles.
PFF separated players into tiers and then ranked them within those tiers to account for the different responsibilities this position has team-to-team and gave the best linebackers of the league their due recognition.
On Tier 1 linebackers: "These three off-ball linebackers represent the best of the best. First and foremost, they bring great awareness and playmaking ability in coverage. They are what teams seek out of the modern-day linebacker at the second level for how they can anticipate and react to plays against the run and pass. These three also have longevity on their side with multiple years of high-end play."
On Warner: "The 2022 campaign marked the third season in which Warner recorded an 80.0-plus overall grade, solidifying his case as the top player at his position."
On Greenlaw: "Greenlaw and Edmunds are two of the more athletically gifted linebackers in the league... Greenlaw went from a 62.9 coverage grade in 2021 to an 82.7 coverage grade in 2022."