Although he’s not quite recognized in this way just yet, 49ers linebacker Fred Warner is really what I would consider the prototype for off-ball linebackers in the NFL right now.
Not only does he fly around the field and play the run well, but Warner has become a tremendous asset in coverage for the 49ers with his athletic ability and ability to play in space.
Although it didn’t result in a victory, Warner showed his value in the Super Bowl with an interception off Patrick Mahomes.
The Broncos don’t currently have an off-ball linebacker who is capable of doing the things Warner does. They could certainly look to someone in free agency, but options exist in the NFL Draft this year as well and a guy like Troy Dye could fit the Bill.
The Broncos have drafted an Oregon player two years in a row now and Dye would make it three. He has big-time speed and athletic ability at the linebacker position and while he’s a bit thinner than the traditional linebacker would be, he’s got the potential to be that matchup player the Broncos and every team so desperately covet.