Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner provides a skill set proven through production that many of the top defensive line prospects can’t provide at the top end of this year’s NFL Draft.
Looking ahead to the 2013 NFL Draft, every NFL fan is searching for that one prospect to cling to in hopes that their favorite team will select the hottest prospect available on April 25. That prospect may come to be known as Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner. Werner is widely regarded as one of the top defensive ends available in this year’s NFL Draft, but like many prospects, has noticeable flaws in his game. With that said, this article will show you why Werner stands out above the rest of the prospects at his respective position.
When you first turn on the game tape of Werner against Wake Forest from last season, you’ll immediately notice his fierce first step. Werner is consistently the first defender in the backfield throughout the game, and often causes havoc in the backfield, creating turmoil for Wake’s offensive game plan. Werner was credited with four tackles and 1.5 sacks in the game, but could have easily had three sacks when you look back at the tape. Werner lost at least one sack to teammate Tank Carradine after tripping on a lineman in the pocket. It’s no surprise Werner ranked second in the entire ACC in tackles for loss, and totaled 13 sacks in 2012, much credit due to his elite first step.
Pass Rushing Ability
Werner’s top-tier arsenal of pass-rush moves is clearly shown in the above video, showing Werner’s tenacious and relentless demeanor as a definite asset as a pass rusher. Werner recorded multiple sacks in five games during the 2012 campaign, good enough to rank third in the NCAA for sacks in a season in last season. Werner’s hands are his biggest strength as a pass rusher, recording eight pass deflections, one forced fumble, along with one fumble recovery. According to Florida States official athletic website, Werner was only one of two linemen in the entire NCAA last season to record eight or more pass break-ups. Werner’s 35 tackles-for-loss rank tenth all-time in Seminole history, which is mind blowing for a player with only 27 career starts.
Werner had the game of his life against Oklahoma in 2011, recording six total tackles, two in which resulted in a loss of yards, and one sack. Much of his production not only against Oklahoma in 2011, but throughout the course of his career as a Seminole can be credited to his great awareness. As shown in the above video, you’ll notice that Werner keeps a constant eye on the ball, and rarely is seen out of position, or away from the play. Werner’s ability to shed blocks, or beat opposing lineman in passing situations, all while keeping an eye on the ball is one of the biggest assets to a defensive lineman’s skill set you could ask for. Werner is constantly creating havoc in the backfield, or seen running down a ball carrier twenty yards down the field, due in large part because you rarely see him with his eyes off the ball.
Standing 6’4” and weighing 255 lbs. gives Werner prototypical size to be a 4-3 defensive end, or a 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level. That type of versatility will attract plenty of teams in the first round looking to improve their pass rush. Werner’s stats certainly speak for themselves. Werner’s career total of 23.5 sacks and 35 tackles-for-loss are simply outstanding for a player who only played two years of organized High School football before coming to Tallahassee and dominating top level NCAA competition. Werner’s game on tape reminds you of Houston Texans’ star defensive lineman J.J. Watt. Both players possess great versatility in both the running and passing game, and can be lined up anywhere along the defensive line, all while producing. Werner may slip in the first round of the draft due to potential players like BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah, or LSU’s Barkevious Mingo, but Werner’s production will outweigh any potential three to five years down the road. There’s nothing about Werner’s game that tells me he can’t or won’t be the best defensive lineman out of this draft class in three years.