This will be my first NFL Draft scouting report for a defensive player in the 2013 draft. Bjoern Werner is a guy that a lot of Detroit Lions fans think would be a perfect fit for their team. Unfortunately for them, it looks like he will land in the Top 3. Let’s get a closer look at Werner.
LE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
You may notice that Werner has a pretty unique name. That’s because he came from Germany to the United States at age 15 as a foreign-exchange student. He started playing football and fell in love with the sport immediately. Most players in similar situations get by on athleticism and still have a lot to learn. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for Werner, the game comes very naturally to him, and he is pretty NFL-ready. A huge problem is that he doesn’t really have a swim move, and often relies on his power and athleticism to beat blockers. That won’t work in the NFL, but it can be fixed.
At 260 lbs., Werner certainly looks the part of a strongside NFL defensive end. As such, he’s not particularly fast, but he has a powerful upper body and strong hands, which he uses very effectively in controlling blockers. He’s a power rusher first and foremost. Werner timed his decision to leave FSU well, as he resembles a J.J. Watt in a lot of ways. The most obvious of these is that he’s excellent at batting down passes at the line of scrimmage, with 7 pass breakups this year. Other than that, he looks more like a Chris Long. He has good motor and burst, and is very effective in setting the edge. Werner is willing to make the right play instead of the flashy sack or tackle, often taking a man or two out while his teammates get the glory.
That said, I’m not a big fan of Werner. He’s sort of in the opposite situation that Geno Smith is in. Whereas I would consider Smith to be around the 10th best player in the draft, Werner is in the Top 2-3. Unfortunately for him, quarterback is a much more important position than left end, and it’s hard to justify spending a Top 3 pick on the latter. If Werner was a pass rusher, there would be no question of his importance. As is, I think a team in Detroit’s position would get better value out of drafting him. His lack of a go-to pass rushing move is also very concerning. Sergio Kindle was the prototypical rush backer a few years back, but he had no pass rushing moves and has struggled in his limited defensive snaps in the NFL, where he can’t use his athleticism to beat offensive tackles. I fear the same fate for Werner. That said, he’s sure to immensely help any team that drafts him in April, but there are a few players better suited for a Top 3 selection.