LOCALS IN THE NFL

49ers LB Fred Warner Helped Jets Coach Robert Saleh Scout Zach Wilson At BYU’s Pro Day

May 8, 2021, 3:35 PM
Fred Warner - Zach Wilson - BYU Pro Day...
Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Fred Warner (4) works during a drill during BYU Pro Day in Provo on Friday, March 30, 2018 & Quarterback Zach Wilson throws during BYU pro day in Provo on Friday, March 26, 2021. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former BYU and current San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner played a role in the New York Jets’ evaluation of Zach Wilson at the Cougars’ 2021 Pro Day.

Warner attended BYU’s Pro Day on March 26. The event featured Wilson and the Niners’ younger brother, Troy Warner.

Also, in attendance was former 49ers defensive coordinator and new Jets head coach Robert Saleh.

During the Pro Day, Warner did a favor for his former coach and helped the Jets with an unusual evaluation of Wilson because of the coronavirus pandemic altered event.

The story was recently detailed in an article by ESPN’s Rich Cimini.

Five months after seeing Wilson on tape for the first time, Douglas flew the 1,964 miles to Provo to watch him throw 70 passes before representatives from 31 teams. He was joined by LaFleur and coach Robert Saleh, who made an unusual request that day. He bumped into one of his former players, San Francisco 49ers linebacker and BYU alum Fred Warner. He asked Warner to hug Wilson. The idea, as first noted by Albert Breer of the MMQB, was to get a feel for the size of the quarterback’s upper body. There was talk around the league about his narrow shoulders.

In the pre-pandemic world, Saleh could have done the hugging himself at the combine. Warner carried out the assignment — what linebacker would pass on a chance to wrap his arms around a quarterback? — and reported back to Saleh that Wilson’s size reminded him of Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes. The Jets are confident Wilson can fill out; his father was a 6-foot-3 and 283-pound defensive lineman at Utah, and his two younger brothers play linebacker. – ESPN’s Rich Cimini

In addition to Saleh, Jets general manager Joe Douglas and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur also watched Wilson throw at the Pro Day.

The event would solidify New York’s decision to take Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick a month later in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Wilson is currently participating in the Jets’ rookie minicamp.

Following the draft, the younger Warner signed with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent.

The 49ers’ Warner was honored with his first Pro Bowl selection after his play in the 2020 season.

The Jets QB and the 49ers LB both played at BYU, but weren’t together on the same team.

Fred Warner was drafted by the Niners during the 2018 NFL Draft. However, Wilson and Troy Warner were teammates for three seasons at BYU.

Kyle Ireland is a Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on Twitter (@kyleireland) and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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