(Brad Penner - USA TODAY Sports)
With the 24th pick in the first round the Colts selected Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner. Coach Chuck Pagano has stated he will play outside linebacker for the Colts but that is about the least interesting factoid from the first night of the draft.
Werner is notably German and as ESPN points out the last likely player to ever be drafted that can be considered a product of NFL Europe. Werner grew up dreaming of being a soccer player but his size and affinity for American football drove him to try something new:
"We were a soccer family," Bjoern says. "My dad played soccer, watched it like people in America watch football every weekend, you know what I'm saying? Both my brothers played soccer, everyone. I mean, I love soccer; I played it, too."
There was just one problem: Bjoern -- bigger and heavier and a head taller than all the other kids -- wasn't built like a soccer player. "Soccer is hard on your ankles, you know?" he says. "Even at a young age, I was getting a lot of sprained ankles. Then one time, I broke my foot."
He was only 10 years old, but the injury, Bjoern says, marked a turning point. For a year and a half, he had to stop playing soccer and even table tennis, at which he'd been a standout for a club team. Then, at about the time he was fully healed, a pal who belonged to Berlin Eagle (an American-football club) made a suggestion. "You can throw the ball," the kid said, "you can catch it, you're real athletic. Why don't you join the flag football team?"
Werner's time in the United States has not been without challenge. He made his first attempt in the States as a teenager at a prep school but found himself homesick and returned to his native Berlin. After being recruited by Florida State Werner, now married, finally found the courage and strength to commit to the game.