Rookies In Focus: Bjoern Werner

| April 1, 2014

With the offseason in full gear, it’s time to review the 2013 season, particularly the rookies. After months of pre-draft drama, it’s important to look back and evaluate the success of each position group. If your favorite team was in the market for an offensive tackle, did they take the right one? Needed an edge rusher? Which one fell to your team?

This is by no means a definitive draft grade on any of these players, just a one-year look at their role and production, and perhaps a look forward to how they might improve.

[click to: comparison graphics | Dion Jordan | Ezekiel Ansah | Barkevious Mingo | Jarvis Jones | Bjoern Werner]

Round 1, No. 24: Bjoern Werner, Indianapolis Colts

Total Snaps: 312
Defensive Right End: 71 (22.8%)
Defensive Left End: 99 (31.7%)
Linebacker: 142 (45.5%) *55 at LOLB, 60 at ROLB

While many analysts expected Mingo and Jones to play 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, it was a bit of a surprise when the Colts took Werner and asked him to pay on his feet at times in their hybrid scheme. Nearly half of his snaps came in a standup role, but he was essentially a defensive end in the Colts’ scheme. He only dropped into coverage 29 times, so his transition from 4-3 defensive end in college was more about learning to rush and play from a 2-point stance rather than learning how to cover.

Pass Rushing
Grade: -8.0
Pass Rush Snaps: 162
Total Pressures: 13
Sacks: 3
Hits:  0
Hurries: 10
Pass Rushing Productivity: 6.6

There wasn’t much to get excited about as Werner notched only 13 pressures on his 162 rushes. The three sacks don’t look bad in his limited time, but one came against RT Tyson Clabo amidst his early-season struggles and the other two came in unblocked and clean up situations respectively. For the season, six of his 13 pressures were of the unblocked variety. With five games in the red and none in the green, Werner has a lot to prove moving forward.

Werner picks up the unblocked sack:

Werner Unblocked Sack

Against the Run
Grade: -0.4
Run Snaps: 121
Stops: 6
Run Stop Percentage: 5.3

Werner didn’t separate himself, good or bad, in the running game, though he did stand up blockers and squeeze gaps a bit more in the Colts’ two-game playoff run. Three of his four missed tackles came in the running game and he ranked 29th among 3-4 outside linebackers in run stop percentage at 5.3.

Grade: +0.7
Coverage Snaps: 29

The sample size is small with Werner only dropping back 29 times on the season, but he didn’t embarrass himself for the most part, save for his whiff on RB Rashard Mendenhall in the flat in Week 12.

Final Word

Werner didn’t see the field enough for us to get a good feel for his ability, but it’d clear that he has to do more as a pass rusher. Perhaps the transition to the new scheme affected him more than most, but the Colts will be looking for Werner to take a big step forward in Year 2.

[click to: comparison graphics | Dion Jordan | Ezekiel Ansah | Barkevious Mingo | Jarvis Jones | Bjoern Werner]


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