The San Francisco 49ers had a rough outing in their opener against the Minnesota Vikings, but the game did see some strong performances by the rookies on the roster. Mike McGlinchey had some struggles, but he showed some versatility in moving to right guard when things went south at the position. Dante Pettis saw a boost in his snaps after Marquise Goodwin suffered a thigh bruise, and he responded in a big way, including the team’s first touchdown of the year.
But it was rookie linebacker Fred Warner who was most impressive. He was the team’s highest graded player, according to Pro Football Focus, and it was enough to get him into PFF’s rookie rankings following Week 1. Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward and edge rusher Genard Avery topped the rankings, followed by Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly, New England Patriots linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, and then Warner.
PFF had this to say about Warner’s performance.
Slotting one spot behind Bentley as our seventh-highest graded linebacker is 49ers linebacker, Warner who had an impressive pro debut in both run defense and coverage. The third-round pick earned a healthy 76.5 run-defense grade against the Vikings to go with an 82.2 coverage grade, the eighth-best coverage grade posted by a linebacker in the opening week. Warner was second among rookie linebackers with at least 10 run-defense snaps last week with a 10.7 run-stop percentage. Warner also made an impressive play to force a fumble, popping the ball free just as Vikings running back Dalvin Cook was about to get into the open field for a potential touchdown. Warner also recorded a pass breakup while in coverage.
In fitting time, Bovada released their latest odds for defensive rookie of the year, and Warner climbed from off the board to 25/1. He is tied at the bottom of the list with Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates, Washington defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Vita Vea, but this comes after 14 rookies were dropped from the list.
PFF listed Dante Pettis among their honorable mention rookies thanks to his 61 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. His performance saw his offensive rookie of the year odds improve from 65/1 to 50/1. He is at the bottom of the odds, but 12 players were dropped from the list.