May 22, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Bjoern Werner (92) goes through drills during organized team activities at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
The Indianapolis Colts “lucked” into drafting Andrew Luck with the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. I think something similar (though not quite as extreme) happened in 2013 when Bjoern Werner fell into their laps with the 24th overall pick.
Werner was my top rated defensive player going into the 2013 NFL Draft, and the fifth ranked player overall. I think he may have fell in the first round due to some potential athleticism concerns, but as far as I’m concerned, Werner’s game translates beautifully to the NFL.
This is a young man with a passion for learning the game. He is still pretty raw to football having moved to the States from Germany, and taking the college football world by storm a couple of years ago.
Werner started playing football at the age of 15, and has developed a really nice complete game as a strong-side defensive end. With the Colts, he will stand up and play some strong-side OLB, or potentially some weakside depending on how they decide to use he and Robert Mathis together.
Either way, I think the Colts found themselves a day one starter for the defense. Werner has great size and plays a lot faster than he timed on a stopwatch. The reason he plays a lot faster is because Werner has elite instincts. Despite only having played the game since he was 15, Werner has a great first step and knows how to effectively use his hands.
As a sophomore at Florida State, Werner had 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks as he burst onto the scene, proving he had the ability to make plays in the backfield. He followed that up as a junior with 18 tackles for loss and 13 sacks, showing great progression statistically.
Here is my scouting report on Werner going into the draft:
Werner is a German-born, former foreign exchange student who didn’t begin playing football until he was 15 years old, when he immediately fell in love with the game. That love for the game shows up on every single play you see from this guy, and might be his greatest asset. Not only is Werner a hard worker off the field, but he will make you pay for taking a play off on the field. His intensity and passion for the game are nearly unmatched, and on Florida State’s star-studded defense he was named MVP after Spring last season. That hard work translated to the field where he was second on the team with 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks. He emerged as a very good run stuffer but also showed development in his pass rush skills. What’s great about Werner is, he is a dynamic player who is a very good athlete and plays with great speed. He is relentless in pursuit and I think he could emerge as a potential first round pick this year, though many are already talking about him as such. When it’s time to turn on the jets and get to the quarterback, he is tough to miss when you watch FSU games.
So what kind of impact can Werner have as a rookie with the Colts? Well, for starters, I think he’s going to be running with the first unit. I felt like going into the draft, Werner had top five ability, and the Colts might only have to ask him to be a situational pass rusher in his first year, but it would be a huge help if he could step up as one of the team’s top young defenders.
Werner has drawn comparisons to Chris Long, who did take a while to develop into the kind of playmaker the Rams wanted him to be, but their patience has paid off, to say the least.
What sets Werner apart for me is the fact that he is so quick and strong, but he plays with a relentless motor too. This guy is going to give 100 percent effort every play, and he can upgrade the Colts’ pass rush significantly.
I thought this was a great first round pick for a team that needed an upgrade in the pass rush department.