Former BYU linebacker Fred Warner has made a name for himself heading into his fifth NFL season, all with the San Francisco 49ers.

The 2020 first-team All-Pro is among the highest paid at his inside linebacker position, and he’s a captain for the 49ers, who’ve turned into one of the NFC’s top Super Bowl contenders during his time in California.

It’s little surprise, then, that Warner made CBS Sports writer Cody Benjamin’s list of the NFL’s top 25 players who are 25 years old and under, released this week.

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Benjamin explained the reasoning why the cutoff is at the age of 25, while adding two important details:

It doesn’t matter if the player turns 26 during the season — it just matters their age come Week 1 of the 2022 season, which starts Sept. 8.

Rookies, because they haven’t had a chance to establish themselves at the pro level yet, were not eligible for this list.

“Generally speaking, most top players enter the NFL at ages 20-21. That means their first contracts tend to run right up until about 25,” Benjamin wrote. “It doesn’t mean 26-year-old superstars aren’t young, but this gives us an easy dividing line. That way, in many cases, you can view this list as the top players still on their rookie deals (or deserving of new ones).”

Where is Fred Warner on CBS Sports’ list of the NFL’s top 25 players 25 and under?

The 25-year-old Warner comes in at No. 17 on Benjamin’s list.

That’s right below another linebacker — 22-year-old Dallas Cowboys second-year man Micah Parsons — and just above 25-year-old Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore.

“San Francisco has a history of fostering prototype linebackers, and Warner has fit the bill for some time,” Benjamin wrote. “As durable as they come, missing just one game in four years, he makes his presence felt all over the field, totaling a whopping 504 tackles since 2018.”

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Warner, a third-round draft pick by the 49ers in 2018, signed a five-year, $95 million contract extension last year with San Francisco, according to Spotrac. He’s signed through 2026.

Warner is the sixth-highest defender on the list, and third among linebackers.

Who leads the CBS Sports’ list of the NFL’s top 25 players 25 and under?

The top of Benjamin’s list is dominated by offensive players. The top five includes:

  • No. 1: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (24).
  • No. 2: Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (25).
  • No. 3: Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (25).
  • No. 4: San Francisco 49ers defensive Nick Bosa (24).
  • No. 5: Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (23).

Are there any other Utah ties mentioned?

There are no other Utah ties in Benjamin’s top 25, but he does list a few in a pair of other categories.

That includes a “maybe next year” category, where former BYU and Corner Canyon High quarterback Zach Wilson (23), now with the New York Jets, and former Desert Hills High offensive tackle Penei Sewell (21), now with the Detroit Lions, are listed. 

Both are second-year players, after being first-round draft picks last year.

Among players who are “just too old,” Benjamin has former Bingham High tight end Dalton Schultz (26), now with the Dallas Cowboys, and former Utah Ute Marcus Williams (26), now with the Baltimore Ravens, just missing the list.