The Colts' 2013 Draft class hasn't exactly got off to the best of starts. Hugh Thornton and Khaled Holmes missed considerable time during training camp and preseason games, Kerwynn Williams and Justice Cunningham were cut before making the practice squad, and safety John Boyett was cut after being arrested last week.
Each week I'll be taking a look at how each of the Colts' rookies has fared in the previous game, so we'll start with Sunday's matchup with the Oakland Raiders.
Werner, as expected, didn't start on Sunday, instead coming in for 29 of the 67 defensive snaps. The first round pick didn't impress, finishing the game with a -3.0 grade from PFF. When Werner did get pressure – on a beaten up Raiders offensive line – he struggled to wrap up and finish plays. PFF gave him just two QB hurries on Sunday, leaving him with a -1.5 grade for pass rush efficiency.
Terrelle Pryor posed problems for the Colts defense throughout the game with his strong running, as the outside linebackers failed to set the edge. Werner, along with Erik Walden and Robert Mathis, struggled to contain Pryor, and PFF gave him a -1.6 grade for his play in run defense.
There's only so much the stats can tell you of course, but Werner was visibly disappointing on Sunday. It's very early days for the German, who is transitioning from defensive end to outside linebacker, but Chuck Pagano will be hoping for better from the 24th overall pick.
Despite impressing in preseason, Thornton did not start the game against the Raiders and played just three snaps as Mike McGlynn (somehow) continues to start. McGlynn surprisingly only finished up with -0.8 by PFF's grading, which is actually a marked improvement from his shambolic 2012.
It seems the staff are going to ease Thornton into the team, which is sensible having just come off an injury. McGlynn is most certainly not the long term answer at right guard, and hopefully by the season's end, we'll see Thornton starting there.
The rest of the class didn't give us much to talk about. Centre Khaled Holmes and defensive tackle Montori Hughes were inactive, Williams and Cunningham are on the practice squad and Boyett left wondering over his future in the NFL. It's a disappointing start from the entire class. It is only the first game of the season though, and the impact of the rookies should be more noticeable as the season goes on.
I know it doesn't matter where a player was drafted once they're in the NFL. They're judged on their play, and it shouldn't be on a curve. Yes, expectations may be higher inversely to the draft number.
Given that, with 20/20 hindsight, if the Colts goal was to find a pass rusher in the draft, who should they have taken? I contend it was the right choice then. Wether it's the 'right' choice remains to be seen.
Maybe we should give up a 2 for Jerry Hughes. I hear he's the real deal!
Wouldn't be surprised if Thornton became the only play out of this draft class to do much, I wasn't a fan of the Werner pick, but hey it happened and hopefully he can pull it together, a lot of stuff to work on, but he has to learn that some weaknesses will always be there and he has to really focus on his strengths, especially in his rookie season. Holmes has always been a wish and a hope type player, Good year and then injury and a bad year, if he gets back healthy and gains strength then he could be a good pick up, if not, he will be washed up. I was actually surprised by the Cunningham cut, but I think he has a good shot to end up on an active roster for multiple years in the future. Hughes is big, but often times I did not see the potential I wanted to in the preseason, seemed like he had a ton of it, hopefully he shows that again, either way he is a big body that can take up space, should stick around for a while.
Bjoern Werner - I don't want to talk about him, really. I hope he turns out to be awesome and proves me so wrong. It may not be fair to be so down on him this early in the game but he looks like he hasn't learned much in his transition to the NFL and he's now facing NFL talent and speed on every snap. Still, the Colts need him to produce and I hope he does it.
Hugh Thornton - Maybe Irsay's Tweet will necessitate giving him a chance? Nope. Not likely.
Holmes and Hughes - I don't want to talk about them either. So, I won't.
@smonroe I would tell you what I wanted in place of Werner but it doesn't matter now.
Funny you joke about giving up something for Jerry Hughes...do you think the Bills would take Sheppard back?
@paulcareyjr But if we want Werner to focus on his strengths, his role has to make it possible, and right now I see a player who is quite lost because he´s asked to do too much that is too different from what he´s good at. Look at what Seattle did with Bruce Irvin last year. They didn´t ask him for the full gamut last year, knowing of his weaknesses, and progressively expanded his responsibilities, which is why this year he should have a bigger role when he returns.
@bradicus18 Whoo! It's my first comment in this site.
Anyways, I don't think the Grigson Magic will be instant this season, as we witnessed in the last. They will work slowly, as all the rookies ease into their roles throughout the season. By next season, everyone should see improvement.
Things to look out for:
1) Werner records 4-5 sacks, a couple of tackles for the season, and I'll be satisfied. Not a rookie but Cam Johnson can also be groomed into someone great. They say he's a raw Aldon Smith, so I see a Johnson-Werner tandem in the future if things go according to plan.
2) Holmes, Hughes, and Thornton take this season and groom into their roles by the end of this season, and I'll be satisfied.
3) The rest of the rookies provide better depth than the ones we have, with a 1 or 2 playing a starter role for the team, and I'll be satisfied.
I have a good vision in mind for the next year's Colts. Expect a lot of growing pains for the entire team this year.
@Goéland @paulcareyjr exactly, we have to put him in a position to succeed, for various reasons, he is still pretty new to the game, he can't use his god given ability as easily as he did in college, and it is easy to get lost and discouraged as a rookie. For me I think his strength is keeping the bench warm, haha j/p, but in all honesty, I don't think in the NFL he will be that good against the run, and I think he has a chance to be an average pass rusher, from a standing position or hand in the ground. I don't think he is agile enough or strong enough to become dominate, but he is pretty good in pursuit, and he has shown a high motor at times.
I hope he turns out to be pretty good but we will see.
I'm not expecting "Grigson Magic." Last year's class was exceptional and we should not expect such results from a draft class. As with all rookies, development takes time. I'm hoping this year's class does continue to develop as the preseason was ugly for them.
If Werner gets four sacks this year, count me as happy.
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Last year's draft was so magical, true. That's why I coined a term "The Grigson Magic". And the guy has a knack for finding talents, so I'm not worried quite yet.
Ugh, it's just that I get somewhat impatient when I see a rookie like Star making progress as a Panther. At the same time, we're right here, watching Bjoern Werner struggling.
I've been lurking in Colts Authority for a long while and I've just now got to commenting. Here's hoping that I'm going to get more involved from here on out.