My Beef With Colts Unsigned Pick Bjoern Werner

Cortland Lee

The Indianapolis Colts reported today that they have signed six of their seven 2013 draft picks to deals. This leaves Bjoern Werner, the 24th overall pick, as the only one unsigned. I find this very interesting since this was virtually the only pick I had beef with Grigson for drafting.

I’ll explain why…

Under second year head coach Chuck Pagano, the Colts defense has been totally revamped as Pagano has brought over a 3-4 scheme similar to what the Baltimore Ravens run. Werner played DE in Jumbo Fisher’s defense in Tallahassee. Scouts have projected Werner as a 4-3 DE in the NFL drawing comparisons to Osi Umenyiora or Jared Allen. Werner even made a comment to the New York Daily News that he would “love to be selected by the New York Giants. “ The Giants run a great 4-3 defensive scheme under Perry Fewell.

My beef with the Werner pick is:  Is he’s a great fit in our system here in Indy? My first thought was, “maybe he plays a 3-4 DE like JJ Watt.” One of Werner’s strengths in college was the ability to get his hands up and bat down balls, but Werner stands 2 inches shorter than Watt and has arms about an inch shorter. Watt also has an incredible motor, strength and quickness. He posted better measureables in the combine than Werner in the shuttle, cone drill, and bench press. Werner’s scouting report states he has an inconsistent motor during games and does not finish plays.

My first thought was wrong (thankfully). Pagano and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky have Werner playing  standing up on the line of scrimmage in minicamp. Again, this is not a good fit! Werner scouting report states he lacks length, explosiveness, and ability to turn the corner. These are all essentially skills needed to be a successful 3-4 outside linebacker.  Pagano and Manusky have recently compared Werner to Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Paul Kruger. Kruger, a former 4-3 defensive end for the University of Utah, made the switch to outside linebacker while playing for the Baltimore Ravens. Looking at the pre-draft measurables, you can definitely see a trend:

Werner

Ht

Wt

40   yd

Shuttle

3-Cone

Vert

Broad

Bench

6   ft 3 ¼ in

266   lb

4.83   s

4.40   s

7.30   s

31   in

9   ft 3 in

25   reps

                         

 

Kruger

Ht

Wt

40   yd

Shuttle

3-Cone

Vert

Broad

Bench

6   ft 4¼ in

263   lb

4.79   s

4.47   s

7.52   s

32½   in

9   ft 1 in

24   reps

 
                           

 

There is one thing though; Kruger was (and still is) very athletic with a high motor. Kruger played four years of high school football as a quarterback and was recruited to Utah by Urban Meyer to play QB in his spread option offense. Kruger also grew up in an athletic household as his parents were both college athletes and his brother just signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cleveland Browns. After Urban Meyer left Utah for Florida, Kruger was asked to switch to defensive end in the 4-3 scheme and excelled. After being drafted by Baltimore, at first as a 3-4 defensive end, Kruger eventually switched to OLB and his career took off. Pagano and Manusky are counting on Werner to possess the athleticism and versatility Kruger had which made the switch to OLB easier. All Werner knows is playing 4-3 defensive end, and at this point, I am not sold he is a good fit in our offense.

Overall, I think Werner is a great prospect. In the short amount of time he has played the game of football, he has been impressive. I just believe he would have been a better fit in New York (like he wanted) at the 19th pick or in Denver at the 28th pick. I would have liked to see either Grigson pick up Werner’s teammate cornerback Xavier Rhodes, or trade down in the second round.

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