Originally written April 26, 2013 on isportsweb.com:
With the 24th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts selected Bjoern Werner, DE out of Florida State. So, what do Colts fans know about the young man from Berlin, Germany? Well, to start with, he’s young (only 22), and comes in at 6’3″ and 266 lbs. At that size, he could potentially play DE in the Colts 3-4 scheme, but head coach Chuck Pagano has already come out and stated that Werner will play opposite Robert Mathis at the OLB spot. That automatically makes me wonder what the plans are, exactly for Erik Walden, whom the Colts seemingly overpayed for earlier this year in free agency. I’d take Werner over Walden at this point anyway, but why pay Walden all that money to be a back-up? Werner didn’t start playing football until he was 15 years old. He was an exchange student who twice came over to attend school and play football in Salisbury, Connecticut. Out of high school, Werner was a 3-star prospect and chose FSU over Oregon and Miami (FL) among others. At Florida State, Werner was a consensus All-American and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. In 3 years (and only 2 as a starter) as a Seminole, he registered 99 tackles (35 for loss), 23.5 sacks, 18 passes defensed, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries. The highlight of those stats to me, more so than the sacks, are the tackles for a loss and the passes defensed. That would indicated decent ability versus the run as well as the ability to drop back in coverage somewhat. It’s no secret the Colts were in the market to add another pass rusher, but I still think corner was a bigger need. However, the player the Indy brass was likely targeting, Desmond Trufant from Washington, was taken two slots earlier after the Falcons traded with the Rams for the 22nd pick. With Werner, one of the highest rated DEs in the draft still there, the Colts had to take him. Here are some of the things the experts said about Werner pre-draft: ESPN.com – “Best fit appears to be LDE in a base 4-3 scheme. Can line up as a (3-4) OLB but will have too many athletic limitations. If able to continue to add bulk to frame, he has enough length and natural strength to line up as an inside nickel/dime rusher from time-to-time.” CBSSports.com – “Werner has good get-off quickness and bend to beat blockers off the snap. Natural instincts and upside makes him an attractive pass-rushing prospect for teams selecting in the top five. Still developing, with a high ceiling, but already shows outstanding football awareness(.)” SI.com – “A strong and well built player, Werner dominates run blockers at the POA in order to consistently make tackles on runs to his side of the field… Overall, the more I evaluated Werner, the more his play reminded me of current Rams’ defensive end Chris Long.” I don’t particularly like grading draft picks before they actually play, but as a prospect in the Colts defense, I’d have to give this an A-. Werner plays fierce, is projected to be solid against the run and a dangerous pass rusher opposite Robert Mathis. The NFL Draft now moves to Day 2, where the Colts won’t pick again until the 24th pick in the 3rd round (86th overall), barring a trade up into the second round. I’ll post my 2nd day predictions for the Colts later in the day today. Follow me on Twitter @IrishColt1
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