Bjoern Werner: How Will Indianapolis' Newest OLB Fare in the Pros?

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Bjoern Werner: How Will Indianapolis' Newest OLB Fare in the Pros?
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The big, physical import from Germany now has a new home in the Hoosier state. Bjoern Werner is a talented edge-rusher who had one of the fastest get-offs in the nation last year. His ability to anticipate both the snap and the quarterback’s next move have made him one of the most productive defenders in this draft class.

One of the more surprising elements to Werner’s game was his overt lack of hustle, which showed up consistently on film.

 

Pro Outlook

One concern I have about Bjoern is his limited upside and athleticism at the next level. He seemed to lack fluidity in his movements and the agility required to turn the corner consistently against NFL linemen. This pick is a bit of reach, as I had Werner’s value slated more in the second round. Apparently the Colts see something special in this kid and loved his production at Florida State.  

Werner is not projected to be a great player in the NFL; he should be a productive starter and help bolster the Colts’ pass rush right away, but any hopes of dominance are extremely unlikely.

 

Roster Outlook

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Expectations are for him to come in and start right away. The big question, however, is where will he be playing on that defense. It appears he was drafted to make the transition to outside linebacker in their 3-4 system, but I expect his role to mirror what they have Terrell Suggs do in Baltimore. There shouldn’t be a whole lot of dropping into coverage for Werner, as he lacks the change-of-direction abilities necessary to be very effective.  

 

Pick Analysis

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With the 24th pick in the first round, the Colts decided to go with Florida State DE Bjoern Werner. This was a puzzling pick on several levels. First off, what position will Werner play in Colts' 3-4 defense? The other issue is how much upside Bjoern has in the NFL. Typically when you draft a guy with average measurables and limited potential, you’re banking on the idea that this kid will give you every ounce of what he has. He should be a high-motor prospect with ton of intangibles to make up for his limitation elsewhere. Yet somehow this is not the case with Werner.

Werner is a second-round value whom the Colts reached on for reasons yet to be determined, but that does not mean he will be a non-factor in their defense. I suspect his impact will be positive on his new team, and he should help Indianapolis win games for years to come. The big issue here is that they passed up on other great talent with better upside like Margus Hunt, Jamie Collins and Johnthan Banks.

 

Grade: C+

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