Good morning, Colts fans. After an exciting and exhausting NFL Draft weekend, it’s time to have a closer look at each member of the Colts’ 2013 draft class. All week, Nate Dunlevy will be discussing reasonable baseline expectations for each player based on how similarly drafted players have done in recent years (You can click on Nate’s most recent columns in the series here and here).
In addition, we’ll be familiarizing ourselves with each of this year’s rookies in a series of Colts Notebooks with post draft quotes. Leading off is the very talkative Bjoern Werner. Werner is quite the character, and his answers and comments have been filtered down over the weekend. Now, prepare yourself for some Bjoern, straight-up.
Bjoern Werner, Unfiltered…Mostly.
ACC Defensive Player of the Year. All-American. 13 sacks. 18 tackles for a loss. First round pick, but still a great deal to prove. Bjoern Werner likely will be playing with a chip on his shoulder, hoping to prove wrong all the teams who passed on him because of his combine numbers. That being said, Werner is happy to be a part of a winning organization, and one that he knew might target him if he stayed on the board late in the first round.
“My agent told me I’m going to be mid-to-late first round,” Werner said. “The Colts, my agent said that, ‘The Colts like you a lot.’ I was like, ‘I hope they take me because I like that team a lot, the organization.’ When it came to that spot, he came up to my shoulder and said, ‘I bet that they take you.’ I was just waiting and waiting.
“The excitement just kind of popped up and I was like, ‘Please call me.’ If not, it’s going to be so disappointing just because everything was building up with the Colts with my internal circle. Then it happened and I was so excited. Honestly, I can’t describe it. My last six, seven years, what I sacrificed to just be in the NFL and it’s such an amazing team.”
Shortly after arriving in Indianapolis with his wife, Denise last week, Werner chatted with the local media about a variety of subjects, some football related, and some not so much – like his accent. “I’m always the joke wherever I go,” Werner said. “I accept that role. At home, I speak with my wife in German all the time so I’m not going to lose that accent.
“I know here all the people are going to create jokes about me but I’m the type of guy that I can laugh at myself and I love when people try to do my voice. It doesn’t sound even close but it sounds funny. I always hear Arnold Schwarzenegger’s thing. I bet the first three days I’m going to have to say all the quotes. It’s just everywhere I go I have to do it and I’ve kind of got used to it.” If he doesn’t say, “I’ll be back,” to the quarterback after his first sack…
Werner was asked if he had any nicknames and said that every German football player seems end up being called Germanator at some point, and that a Tallahassee radio station liked to call him “Von Striker” (or Von Stryker), and The Berlin Wall.
Moments after Werner was drafted, Colts Punter Pat McAfee got in on the fun, referring to him on Twitter as “The Bjoern Supremacy.” “I’ve heard so many things,” Werner said of the nickname, “Bjoern to be wild, I’ve seen it all. I can’t even tell you all the things. Honestly, you can ask me everything, even the most inappropriate questions, I’ve heard it all, it’s ridiculous. Everything out there already.”
Ask anything? Perhaps caught off guard, the only thing they could think to ask him was who his agent is. “Jimmy Sexton” Werner said he actually interviewed three potential agents. “He’s with Coach (Jimbo) Fisher who I had coach,” he began. “The little like recruiting process invited three different agencies. I just gave them an hour-and-a-half to try to say, ‘Why should I pick you?’ and Jimmy Sexton was the best of them. I’m so happy I picked him.” Then he added, “That was actually fun. They were sweating and stuff. For one time, I was the boss.”
Bjoern on Playing as Dwight Freeney on Madden:
“And Robert Mathis, both of them. I told the coaches already, I was 12, 13, 14 years old and I played with both of those guys on my little All-Star Team. I created my little All-Star Team. I was pretty good (laughs). Just playing with them, just having so much fun, I was a young kid and now I can ask Robert Mathis questions, that’s crazy. I can’t believe that. I can ask him questions and he can teach me stuff, if he’s willing to, but I hope he does. It’s just amazing to be in the same room as him and I just can’t wait to meet him and tell him that story too. I respect him so much and it’s just an awesome time right now.”
Bjoern on Coach Chuck Pagano:
“He came to Florida State and he was just, I don’t even know how to describe, he was just so happy. He was happy that I gave him the chance to work me out, kind of thing. I was like ‘Coach, I’m happy that you came down and you worked me out and gave me a chance to prove myself.’ He’s like, ‘Don’t worry about it. You proved it in your college career that we can come down and work you out.’ He’s different. I watched him on TV and the whole thing last year was so inspiring. Now, I’m so happy that I’m playing for him and he’s going to start coaching me and yelling me on the practice field and honestly I can’t wait.”
Bjoern on learning to play American Football:
“When I was 12 years old, in sixth grade, a classmate brought a flag football, like this tiny ball to school and we just tossed it around during a break. I was just loving it. I was always into sports and he just said, ‘Why don’t you come one afternoon and try to practice with the club team in Berlin?’ I said, ‘Why not?’ I just went there and fell in love with flag football at the time. In Germany, everything until 15 is flag football and 15-19, like high school age, is youth football, tackle football. So I played flag football and I was loving it but then I see the older guys playing tackle football and it was just like, ‘Man, I want to do this but I can’t. I’m too young.’ I just saw the physicality of the sport and it was just so amazing to see how grown men can tackle each other and it’s legal because in soccer it’s not. I was just so into football and just starting to play Madden on the PlayStation, just picking up that game and knowing every NFL team, every player on the roster. It was a lot of fun.”
Finally, when they posed the question of what kind of player he is, Werner began as most players do – with talk about work ethic, then became a bit more introspective. “Like I said, hard worker, willing to learn everything new,” he began. “If I think I can do something or my coach criticized what I think I’m doing good, I’m going to adjust it because my coach knows what’s best for me. Every time I mess something up or I don’t do the right thing, I’m just thinking about the sacrifice I did. Why would you mess it up? It’s just that internal motivation. I have a lot of people behind me. I was thinking about there’s so many people that want to be in my spot and this just keeps me motivated.”
All quotes are courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts Public Relations department.
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I really do think Werner is going to be fine. I know that the pressure is really on teams to get their first round pick right. So anything they can find (or invent) to mark down a player they will. In Werner's case, i think teams overlooked three solid years of film and on-field production, because of his combine numbers.
(Fingers crossed anyway.)
@DougEngland He played very well while he was still kind of learning the game. I think that's a good sign.