Bjoern Werner I Florida State I DE I 6032 I 266 I Junior
40 Time: 4.83
Overview: Bjoern Werner burst onto the national stage after Brandon Jenkins went down with a season ending knee injury in 2011. He proved to be unblockable at times in 2011 and continued his dominance into the 2012 season. Werner is the top all around defensive end in this draft and could be taken very highly in April. A spectacular pass rusher with the strength to set the edge in the run game, Werner is deserving of a top fifteen selection in this draft. Werner isn’t an elite quick twitch athlete and won’t blaze the 40 but his first step is excellent and gives opponents fits because he turns speed to power better than anyone in this draft. Werner could stand to add some bulk to his frame and could be viewed as a “tweener”. I think he’s a pure 4-3 RE that you can count on to be amongst the league leaders in sacks.
Pass Rush: Werner amassed 23.5 sacks in his three-year career at FSU. As stated he has an elite first step that allows his to set up a bevy of pass rush moves or blow by slower footed tackles. Werner’s ability to turn speed to power is elite caliber as he’s capable of overpowering and out leveraging bigger, stronger linemen. Werner’s short area quickness was virtually unblockable in college and will prove the same at the next level. Werner is a long athlete with long arms. Most impressive about Werner’s game is his ability to use his hands. Many collegiate pass rushers struggle with hand usage when rushing the passer. Werner routinely will get the edge and chop the tackles hands to free his lane to the QB. Teams started chopping Werner and he needs to do a better job of using his hands to protect his legs and stay upright. In a class full of elite athletes, he could get lost in the shuffle with only average athleticism.
Run Defense: What sets Werner apart from the likes of the other top DE’s in the draft is his ability to be force in the run game. Werner is a strong edge setter that has heavy hands and fights through traffic to get to the ball carrier. Werner stacks and sheds with power and does a nice job of playing assignment football to not create excessive running lanes. Many big time pass rushers will burst up the field and create a giant running lane. Werner is a solid, assignment football player. The only criticism of Werner in the run game is that he will get high and driven out the play by blockers.
Size/Strength/Athleticism: Werner’s weight is a concern as it’s a little less than you would want in a prototypical RE. That said, he plays bigger than his weight. He has excellent length with extremely long arms and strong hands. Adding some bulk may not be a bad idea for Werner.
Bottom Line: Werner isn’t an elite prospect but is a solid talent. He’s the top 4-3 DE in this draft and should come off the board in the top fifteen picks. Werner is an impressive pass rusher that plays equally well against the run. Werner came to FSU as a German foreign exchange student and became an instant success on campus. The scary part about Werner is that he’s still learning the game and hasn’t hit his full stride at this point in his young career. As I said, don’t be surprised if Werner gets lost in the shuffle among the elite athletes in the class.