(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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Wow, I am astounded as his hesitancy to be the 2nd or 3rd tackler in on a play... at least once it's past the line of scrimmage. I'm trying to be objective but continue to find myself making a Mckayla Maroney face.
The thing that should be interesting for us is the flexibility we have in our front 7. Werner can play with a hand on the ground, We can go speed with Mathis and Hughes, go strength with Walden and Werner. We could even move an Ilb outside to play in coverage occasionally. We also have a great deal more depth and versatility on the line. Our D is now equipped to stop the running game which features prominantly in our division. Our secondary is still not suited to beat a Broncos or Patriots team though.
I like the pick of Werner at 24 because Grigson is choosing guys that will fit Pagano's system on defense. Even though, Rhodes and Patterson which were appealing picks at this spot were available, he chose a Paul Krueger type player just like in the Raven's system of defense.My pick would have been Rhodes because he is a shut-down corner back. I was surprised he was still there at 24, but the Vikes took him with the next pick.
What this tells me is that Grigson had the confidence to really go with the BAP strategy and was true to the Colts draft board.
I obviously don't know what kind of player Werner will turn out to be, but I admire that Grigson drafted what I bet was the highest ranked player on the Colts board. Even though I would have prefered Xavier Rhodes, I will never criticize Grigson for this... regardless of how it plays out.
I watched a few videos on YouTube and his first step is ridiculously fast, which is very impressive. I also checked out a few pre-combine mock drafts and he was projected as being a top-5, top-10 pick before his measurables at the combine underwhelmed scouts. I know he's probably not gonna be a Dion Jordan-type player, but I'm excited to see how well he does. He's willing to work hard and seems to be extremely intelligent, too. His reel against Oklahoma (and against Lane Johnson, who was taken #4 overall) is also very impressive. If he can get a few sacks in a game against Lane Johnson, then he'll probably be pretty good in the NFL.
Have to say that I am really happy with the pick. I was deluding myself that we might move up for Jarvis Jones t 17, but the more I wath this kid the happier I am. Funny how many Colts fans were pining for Krugr, but the they complain about the Werner pick. I think we see Werner and the oft maligned Walden downs 1 and 2 (short 2nd downs only), and then Mathis in for Walden in all passing situations. Not the happiest thing for me, butMathis sucks against the run, he used to be a pass rush specialist.
Ok, now that the first round is done, I was only worried that two names would be called that would make my head explode:
1. Geno Smith
2. Manti Te'o
Don't get me wrong, I don't hate either of them. It's just that 1. A first rounder on a QB would be a waste **when you have Luck on board**, and 2. We don't want or need the media circus (plus, Te'o seems to me to be more a 4-3 sorta guy, so therefore not a fit for the current Indy D).
Not that I expected either to happen. But damn, my head would have **exploded** if it had.
Willie McGinnist just basically said the same thing I said on NFL network, called the Colts one of the most disappointing teams, "Colts go out and get Werner, here is a guy that is in the 260 range, I don't see him as an outside linebacker, I don't think he is that athletic, I don't see him standing up and covering tight ends on the back side of the backfield learning coveraged and I do not see him holding the edge in a 3-4 system, they got rid of Freeney because he is not a real 3-4 outside guy, well he is not either, he has never played the outside position, you put up at DE and I will run at him, I don't think he can hold the point, I know he is a good player and has a good motor, but just in that system he really does not fit in a 3-4 system."
I tried to type that up close to word for word, by listening to it on my dvr.
LIke I said I mean I do not know what is different from him and Jerry Hughes when he was drafted, go back and look at that, we now have him in a 3-4 and he is doing nothing as well, atleast Hughes is more agile to me.
And yeah one thing that really bothers me about Werner is that he does not do something I learned when I was very you play until you hear the whistle, he quits so early on plays it is ridiculous.
@hankster Yeah, we will not get one of the next 4-5 WR's on the board, but a good one still should be there in the 3rd. I'm hoping WR or Lattimore, but with no HUGE needs I'm fine sitting back and seeing what happens.
@hankster Yeah but it doesn't matter because we don't pick again until the end of round 3. I wanted to see us trade out and get a Patriots-like deal in the process.
@hankster All those I like should be gone by our next pick, but I suggested yesterday possibly trading our 2nd next year and 4th this year to try to move back up into the 2nd and grabbing Allen
@matt_has Yeah he does not play to the whistle, and does not help group tackle, it is annoying, but hopefully that part will be a easy fix, doubt he will see playing time if he does not start doing that...
@mattshedd How is Walden going to contribute on the strength end? He got manhandled by anyone who got hands on him last year.
@mattshedd Well put.
@mattshedd That secondary would've looked a lot better with Xavier Rhodes, wouldn't it? Anyway, I like the pick, too. When the Colts play nickel, they go to a 4 man front, instead of that horrid 3-3-5 Nickel package. Werner could see a great deal of time playing his natural position.
@unitas19 Man, the Vikings sure didnt have to spend much time deliberating. It was like Christmas morning for them. I would have loved to get Rhodes. I agree, though, Werner looks like a solid pick. I have quotes for tomorrow's Colts he sounds like a pretty cool guy on top of everything else.
@MarcusDugan Was definitely the best game of his that I saw, held the point fairly well and got his arms extended so he could see the play develop, not wonderful at getting of his man in those situations, but okay, He also was about to get to the QB twice by beating his man, the other was a weird reverse pass play. Still did not play to the whistle, but did drive his guy back on occasions, if this is the starting point it makes me feel better, but I still am kind of iffy about him in coverage, but hopefully that improves, will definitely need to work on staying lower, and playing til the whistle as well as changing directions.
@DougEngland The more I thought about it, the more concerned I was with our pass rush. I mean, literally, we have just Mathis on one side, then Hughes and Walden (yuck). A pass rusher makes much more sense than another cornerback (not that I didn't want Rhodes, but OLB/pass rusher was a higher priority).
@DougEngland Agreed. I wanted Rhodes at that spot as well but if the Colts felt like Werner was the guy they wanted all along, I'm glad they got him. It looks like the Colts are executing their offseason strategy according to plan. I'm happy with that.
@TheGreatMisdirect I like the pick. I will take college production over the combine any day. Think he fits really well into the Colts defensive scheme (we need to stop with this 4-3 vs 3-4. we play a hybrid defense.)
Much prefer Bjorn to Dion Jordan. Dion is a workout wonder who didn't really play that well last year. To put it in perspective, Bjorn led the ACC in sacks (would have been second in the Pac-12) Dion was tied for 24th in the Pac-12 in sacks. Bjorn was 2nd in the ACC in tackles for a loss, Dion was 3rd - on his team!
Dion will be the next Vernon Gholston.
@TheGreatMisdirect What I meant, many had him as a top 2 pick as a 4-3 DE, then he slipped to around 10 pre combine as a 4-3 DE, after the combine when his measurements came out he slipped even further as a 4-3 DE, when you are talking about moving him to a whole new position 3-4 OLB he projected even worst.
But I will add, he got 1 sack vs a guy in Lane Johnson who was playing his 2nd game as a college OT after switching from QB and TE and DE, that is not impressive at all so you can throw that right out of the window for me atleast.
@TheJitterymonky I don't know that they'd necessarily sub that way unless Mathis is getting torn up by some OT in the run game, but I like that they'll have the option.
@TheJitterymonky No way you take out Mathis on 1st and 2nd downs by the way, that won't be happening.
@paulcareyjr Also, Imean to ask what you mean about Jerry Hughes? Jerry was a 3-4 pass rusher coming into the NFL, and the colts tried to convert him to a 4-3 DE, and that's where it all went wrong. Also, Jerry was supposed to be very athletic but weak, while Bjorn is supposed to be non-athletic but strong. I just don't get your comparison at all, they are completely different players and play styles.
@paulcareyjr Did McGinest fake an injury near the end of this rant, grab a water, then come back in to finish?
@paulcareyjr They got rid of Freeney cause he was old, injurded, wanted lots of money, and couldn't play at a high level any more. not because of position.
@paulcareyjr Please tell me you're not buying into hate from a former Pat.
BTW if Willie would bother to watch more than two seconds of tape he'd notice that Werner played OLB quite a bit in FSUs multiple front and did a fair bit of dropping in coverage and held his own containing the edge. Just cause the guy was typecast by the McShays of the world to play in the 4-3 doesn't mean he hasn't already shown the tools to play in a hybrid front.
And I say this as a person who HATED the pick when it was first announced.
@vinylsoundsgood @hankster I think when they finally get to that 3rd rounder, there will still be some players left to get excited about.
@paulcareyjr @matt_has Ok, I have been trying to defer to Grigson's judgement on this but I'm a bit more alarmed after watching some tape on Werner. I tried to defer to Grigson's judgement on Walden and well, that's not working out.
He's strong. He can push OL around.
He has good awareness and can deflect passes at the LOS.
Great first step. He can get the jump on OL.
His motor. This is a big deal in my eyes. He seems to quit on plays before he should and sometimes misses out on the opportunity to make the tackle when others fail to bring a guy down. He makes little attempt to pursue the ball carrier across the field. Carradine is seen going from one side of the field to the other and back across in the Florida game to bring a guy down. Werner is nowhere to be seen. The Miami tape definitely displays his least impressive performance.
Cannot bend down and turn the corner. He seems very rigid when trying to turn the edge. Unfortunately, I'm used to watching Mathis contort his body, get down and then blow past linemen.
If he were 20lbs heavier, I would say he might make a good 3-4 DE. But a 3-4 OLB, I'm not so sure. In the NFL, if you don't go all out as a pass rusher/edge defender, you will get abused and get benched. I hope that is an easy fix as well but I fear it is not. It takes discipline and good conditioning to reach the level of a Mathis or Jared Allen (as someone compared him to). I'm not sure he is there. He seems like a good guy; let's hope he gets there.
@rogcohen @TheGreatMisdirect Hybrid yes, but the reason a hybrid works is because you have guys that are versatile, and that is not what he is. like I said 5 of his sacks came in the first two weeks against soft competition, Dion Jordan had a lot of production, but he was not a rush every down guy, he is more of a Hybrid guy that can rush, hold the edge, and defend in coverage, not just a workout wonder which can be seen in the tape.
@rogcohen He was a 4-3 DE, when you look at the tape his had was always in the ground, but I think he was projected more as an OLB because of his size, look at the video that was posted of Jerry Hughes... Also all of Jerry Hughes numbers were better than Werner at the combine, including bench, Jerry Hughes was never a weak guy at all.
You should go back and checkout his tape.
@matt_has Nope, but Kurt Warner came back from retirement to add a few words, lol
@matt_has @paulcareyjr I have tried to stay out of this particular debate, but (oh, ow ow ow, my leg............okay, back in the game) I have to say, that is one heck of a comment.
@rogcohen Freeney was willing to take a pay cut, only missed 2 games and that was at the beginning of the season, He didn't play well because he was out of position, and trying to make a transition, it did not work, better believe if he was willing to do all of this and was being productive he would have been kept, with Werner most likely a guy that will be at the LOLB position he will need to do even more than Freeney did with regards to coverage and holding the edge.
Also I should add Freeney's play got better as the year went on.
@Coltsheadben He is an analyst now, and he was a dominate LB and understands how offenses try to attack defenses to take advantage of matchups, when he dropped back in coverage he looked lost and stiff, I will let you see for yourself though, his quick change of direction is bad, and him standing straight up in coverage is going to have to be fixed before he has a chance at being a decent coverage guy.
@MarcusDugan @vinylsoundsgood @hankster Dobson has pretty good hands (at least on Youtube) and he's projected to go in the bottom of the third round. Not exactly dominant, but he could turn into a real productive guy.
I like Rodgers mostly because he destroyed Oregon despite being doubled the hole game. I doubt he'll still be available when the Colts pick though.
@paulcareyjr @TheGreatMisdirect I would expect to still see him line up like a DE ever time he's in the game in a nickel package, unless Pagano develops a sudden affinity for going 3-3-5 instead of 4-2-5 in those situations. I'm hopeful that can ease his transition a bit. I expect, they'll face plenty of three receiver sets, even in our run-oriented division.
@rogcohen @TheGreatMisdirect That is an impressive stat, but that says nothing about versatility, it does say that he can get his hands up on the rush and tip passes which is nice, but he did not get those while he was in coverage.
As far as the other argument I will start with the stats, it is not because they were in the first two weeks, but who they were against, he is a primary pass rusher and it really does not matter much to me if he can dominate low level competition like Murray State and Savannah state, when you look at stats you have to put them in context, of course you want a guy that has good stats, but you want them to be meaningful as well, so I am more interested in what he does against NFL level talent, that was the basis for me wanting to see game tape vs miami and florida.
And it is not that I am defending Jordans lack of stats but saying that stats are a product of system, and that when taking into account how they were used, and how often they rushed and dropped back, as well as who they were going against that affects stats, but more important than any of that to me is game tape, and that is where you see that Jordans skill set and potential for the next level as a 3-4 OLB is much better in my opinion than Werner.
@paulcareyjr @TheGreatMisdirect That argument makes no sense! Your dismissing Bjorn stats because they came in the first two weeks, but defending Dion's lack of stats? Remember, Bjorn was also second in the ACC in passes defended last year. That indicates a certain instinctual awareness and ability to be versatile!
@bradicus18 @paulcareyjr Used Chris cause about 1 1/2 years ago there was an article on coltszilla and quoted on 18to88 about how great Chris was and how all these teams offered him jobs. There was a big love fest in the comments, and I asked them to reference their sources. Turned out he wasn't offered jobs and the Coltszilla dude just flamed the hell out of me. it's just a point of bitter pride that I always thought he was crap, and I know lots of people around here really liked him two years ago.
@rogcohen @cwjwl 2 years ago he had 8.5 sacks, and this is coming in a year where the offense was not as strong and did not put up as many points so compared to him rushing against teams trying to pass to get back into games he was defending against teams trying to run out the clock. Stopping the run was never his big point it was putting pressure on the QB, so ofcourse when the % of plays that you are rushing the passer compared to defending the run changes then it is more likely that your numbers will go down.
Also the reason for using stats here is for comparing a guy in the same system to what he did in previous years in the same system, and looking at how his numbers were affected with a change in times he rushed the QB.
@rogcohen @paulcareyjr Chris Polian? No. No one here would even begin to believe that Chris Polian is a "board favorite." I don't disagree with your premise that "we fall in love with our own" but that is simply not a good example and you risk discrediting yourself with such statements.
Furthermore, Freeney probably will not return to form and I don't fault the Colts for cutting him, but he was still a bigger impact player than Addai.
@paulcareyjr Bah, Freeney is the next Addai. Someone everyone defends around here even though the production and play sucks (please note, I'm saying that as in the last year or two with the Colts, not career wise), then when they leave the Colts, they don't do anything. Chris Polian also springs to mind as a board favorite who was awful, but will never do anything outside the Colts.
We fall in love with our own and get blinded to the reality of the situation.
@cwjwl @rogcohen Not about money, his agent knows the range that Freeney can make, there is a big group of vet 4-3 DE's that teams looked at in the offseason, he has a lot of competition, I expect him to get signed sometime after the draft is over.
Also not sure what you are meaning by the first sentence.