Colts: Werner starting to produce
The Colts drafted Bjoern Werner out of Florida State with a first-round pick in the 2013 draft. As a rookie, Werner was in the rotation at outside linebacker, but only able to generate three sacks and 12 hurries on 179 blitzes. His -7.3 pass rush grade was the lowest on the team.
This season, with Robert Mathis out for the year, more production from Werner was a necessity. In their first two games (both losses) he was blanked as a pass rusher in Denver and could only manage a hit and a hurry against Eagles’ backup right tackle Andrew Gardner.
Werner’s pass rushing stats the next two games were also underwhelming – just three hurries against the porous Jaguars’ O-Line and just a single hurry vs. the Titans. A closer look reveals Werner had a sack by beating RT Sam Young soundly and in lightning-quick fashion. It would’ve been a safety, but an illegal contact penalty nullified the play. It was a spectacular play nonetheless, and factored into his grade.
Werner started asserting himself after that, against the Ravens (+3.3 pass rush grade) he notched two sacks and four hurries, mostly at the expense of undrafted-rookie left tackle James Hurs. Next at Houston, he generated a hit and a game-ending strip-sack (despite LT Duane Brown clearly holding him.) Last week he added four more total pressures including a sack and hurry against one of the league’s better RTs, Andre Smith.
Werner’s pass rush grade now stands at a healthy +4.0 for the season. Has he finally turned the corner? We’ll be watching.