(Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports)
With the freedom to go with the best player available, GM Ryan Grigson and the Indianapolis Colts selected Berlin, Germany's own Bjoern Werner, (6-3, 266, 4.81 40, 25 reps, 4.40 shuttle), Defensive End out of Florida State, who is likely to play outside linebacker for Indianapolis. Known as a solid, productive, all-around player, Werner racked up 42 tackles, 13 sacks, 8 passes defensed, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and a touchdown last season.
Despite his college productivity, Werner had some so-so combine numbers, which caused him to fall to the late first round. Grigson has said in the past that he prefers looking at a player’s body of work as opposed to his track and field combine drill numbers. He and likes seeing special players fall to him because of their combine performances. Time will tell if Werner, ranked second among defensive ends, will be one of those players.
Here is an excerpt from Werner’s NFL Combine Profile (Keep in mind, these profiles should be taken with a grain of salt, as they once declared Colts LB Kavell Conner to be a bad run stopper).
NFL Comparison: Chris Long
Bottom Line: Born and raised in Berlin, Germany, Werner enjoyed American football growing up and joined a club team before moving to the United States as a high school exchange student, playing two seasons and emerging as a top recruit. He has developed his football knowledge and technique substantially the past five years, flashing a top football IQ and instincts. Werner has the frame and athleticism to win with speed or power and, although he needs to improve his motor for all four quarters, he often looks like he’s playing at a different speed than everyone else. He has proven to be much more than just a pass rusher, showing much better awareness against the run and at the line of scrimmage to swat passes down –- a possible top-five overall draft choice with the potential to be an impact starting strong-side DE in a four-man front.
And CBS Sports’ profile on Werner:
STRENGTHS: 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, reading the ballcarrier and batting down passes at the line of scrimmage. Strong hands to win the edge and get around blockers, using his body strength and feet to flatten to the pocket.
WEAKNESSES: Lacks elite length for the position and doesn't have the natural start/stop explosion of some pass rushers. Will lose leverage at times, especially off the snap when he gets too high out of his stance. Has improved his awareness against the run, but still has room to improve his ability to sift through the trash and defeat off-balance blocks.
Motor tends to run hot/cold at times, especially late in games or if the play isn't to his side of the field. Needs to consistently finish when he gets his hands on the ballcarrier. Has a history of minor injuries, including a left hand issue that bothered him this past season.
COMPARES TO: Chris Long, DE, St. Louis Rams – Both have a combination of quickness and strength combined with a nonstop motor to consistently pressure the pocket off the edge.
UPDATE: Bjoern Werner Scouting Videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tgtpB_yai4 versus Miami, 2012
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RRjhUdWa2Y versus NC State, 2012
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8RU3mBVlws versus Maryland, 2012
Everyone had their favorite (I wanted Xavier Rhodes or DeAndre Hopkins, myself), and many Colts fans are not excited about the Werner pick. However, Grigson and his staff did spend a great deal more time and energy scouting these players than any fans or writers. So, we shall wait and see how this pick will look in hindsight.
There you have it. Welcome to Indy, Bjoern Werner, the latest Colts rookie with a supremely cool-sounding name.
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