FanPost

A Very Close Look at Bjoern Werner's 2013 Season

I’ve kind of reached my boiling point with all this talk of Bjoern Werner being a "bust". A "bad decision", or whatever you want to call him. Werner has faced a very steep learning curve in developing for a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 strong-side outside linebacker. Sure, we’d all like him to bust onto the scene like Terrell Suggs did in 2003. But, consider Suggs was drafted 10th overall in the 2003 draft. A very relevant argument could be made about that 2003 draft.

In 2003 the Indianapolis Colts selected Alabama A&M defensive end, Robert Mathis, with the 138th overall pick. Since 2003 Suggs has appeared in 162 NFL games. Mathis has appeared in 160. Suggs can claim 146 starts. And, Mathis has started in 95 games. In 2003 Suggs registered 12 sacks in his first NFL season. Mathis only hung 3.5 on the board. Since, Mathis is a mere half sack shy of the Indianapolis Colts franchise record with 107 sacks. Suggs is looking up to #98 with a claim to 93.5 sacks.

Is Suggs a draft bust? His career high in sacks came in 2011 with 14. With 3 games to play, Mathis has 15.5 sacks playing a position he has never played in his entire collegiate and professional football career. A position that Suggs has played at least 5 times in his NFL career.

That’s poppy cock, right? Who would ever consider Suggs a draft bust? Just because the Ravens took Suggs (WELL) over Mathis (who has been the more productive pass rush specialist) doesn’t take into account all the intangibles that Suggs has brought to the table for the Baltimore Ravens defense, right?

Clearly there’s a gray area. But, I feel a lot of people are looking at Werner in one of two ways. You can either be a sack specialist & a good draft choice. Or, you can be a productive NFL linebacker and be a bust. What I look for in Werner is a little bit of both. But, that latter task is quite the transition for Werner.

We all know he was a 4-3 defensive end at Florida State. But, rather come to Indianapolis and be just a pass rush specialist, Werner has immediately been thrust into the line-up in a very diverse set of situations (with regard to his limited snap count). And, I feel there are statistics that show where he is lacking in production. And, I feel there are statistics where he has contributed fairly well for Indianapolis. I’m gonna take a look at the 2013 defensive end draft class (picks 3 to 88), Robert Mathis over the past two seasons, Erik Walden, and Jerry Hughes rookie season.

Draft Position:

Dion Jordan – 3rd

Ziggy Ansah – 5th

Barkevious Mingo – 6th

Werner – 24th

Datone Jones – 26th

Tank Carradine – 40th

Margus Hunt – 53rd

Corey Lemonier – 88th

Pass Rush Situations + Accumulative QB hits, hurries, & sacks:

Dion Jordan – 172 (62.0%) + 23 (13.3%)

Mathis ’13- 396 (55.0%) + 51 (12.8%)

Corey Lemonier – 174 (64.9%) + 22 (12.6%)

Mathis ’12 – 319 (45.9%) + 33 (10.3%)

Erik Walden – 292 (39.8%) + 28 (9.5%)

Ziggy Ansah – 266 (59.9%) + 25 (9.3%)

Barkevious Mingo – 295 (53.3%) + 27 (9.1%)

Datone Jones – 197 (83.4%) + 17 (8.6%)

Werner – 116 (49.3%) + 9 (7.7%)

Margus Hunt – 95 (77.8%) + 7 (7.3%)

Jerry Hughes ’10 – 57 (60.6%) + 2 (3.5%)

Tank Carradine – 0 + 0

Sacks:

Mathis ’13 – 15.5 (3.9%)

Ziggy Ansah – 7 (2.6%)

Mathis’12 – 8 (2.5%)

Barkevious Mingo – 5 (1.6%)

Datone Jones – 3 (1.5%)

Dion Jordan – 2 (1.1%)

Erik Walden – 2 (0.6%)

Corey Lemonier – 1 (0.5%)

Werner – 0.5 (0.4%)

Jerry Hughes ’10 – 0

Tank Carradine – 0

Margus Hunt – 0

Hurries & Hits Only:

Dion Jordan – 21 (12.2%)

Corey Lemonier – 21 (12.0%)

Mathis ’13 – 36 (9.0%)

Erik Walden – 25 (8.5%)

Mathis ’12 – 24 (7.5%)

Barkevious Mingo – 22 (7.4%)

Margus Hunt – 7 (7.3%)

Werner – 8 (6.8%)

Ziggy Ansah – 17 (6.3%)

Datone Jones – 13 (6.5%)

Jerry Hughes ’10 – 2 (3.5%)

Tank Carradine – 0

Run Situations + Pass Cover Situations + Acc. Batted Passes, Tackles, Assists, & Stops:

Datone Jones – 30 (12.7%) + 9 (3.8%) + 13 (33.3%)

Jerry Hughes ’10 – 37 (39.3%) + 9 (24.3%)

Werner – 97 (41.2%) + 22 (9.3%) + 27 (22.6%)

Ziggy Ansah – 172 (38.7%) + 6 (1.3%) + 34 (19.1%)

Dion Jordan – 71 (25.6%) + 34 (12.2%) + 20 (19.0%)

Barkevious Mingo – 202 (36.5%) + 56 (10.1%) + 42 (16.2%)

Corey Lemonier – 65 (24.2%) + 29 (10.8%) + 14 (14.8%)

Mathis ’12 – 292 (42.0%) + 83 (11.9%) + 54 (14.4%)

Erik Walden – 324 (44.2%) + 116 (15.8%) + 52 (11.8%)

Mathis ’13 – 295 (41.0%) + 28 (3.8%) + 33 (8.6%)

Margus Hunt – 25 (20.4%) + 2 (1.6%) + 1 (3.7%)

Tank Carradine – 0 + 0 + 0

All Accumulative Defensive Statistics vs. Total Snaps:

Mathis ’13 – 114.5 (719 snaps, 15.9%)

Dion Jordan – 45 (277 snaps, 16.2%)

Ziggy Ansah – 66 (444 snaps, 14.8%)

Corey Lemonier – 36 (268 snaps, 13.4%)

Barkevious Mingo – 69 (553 snaps, 12.4%)

Mathis ’12 – 86 (694 snaps, 12.3%)

Datone Jones – 29 (236 snaps, 12.2%)

Werner – 27.5 (235 snaps, 11.7%)

Jerry Hughes ’10 – 11 (95 snaps, 11.7%)

Erik Walden – 79 (732 snaps, 10.7%)

Margus Hunt – 8 (122 snaps, 6.5%)

Tank Carradine – 0 snaps

So, looking back you can make the argument that Werner has been less than impressive as a pass rusher this season. We didn’t need statistics to see that. But, it’s pretty obvious to pin-point his struggles. That would be getting off the initial blocker and making the hit on the quarterback. He hasn’t registered a single "hit" this season. And, as we all know, he’s only gotten to the quarterback one time.

But conversely, he’s adjusted to the responsibilities of the strong-side linebacker very well. Only 3-4 defensive end Datone Jones (who played 4-3 defensive end collegiality) has created more disruption in coverage and run support. But, it wouldn’t have made sense to draft Jones to play strong-side linebacker for us.

And, the whole point of this was to show, yes, Werner has thus far been below average as a pass rusher. But, as a player he hasn’t played "bad". Don’t take my word for it. You’ve seen my stats and heard my argument. But, take a look at Pro Football Focus’ overall grades for these players.

Ratings: Overall + Rush + Coverage + Run

Mathis ’13 – 20.3 + 14.9 + -0.3 + 4.2

Dion Jordan – 3.4 + -0.2 + 2.0 + 1.5

Corey Lemonier – 2.6 + 3.5 + 0.2 + -0.2

Ziggy Ansah – 0.7 + -4.0 + 0.0 + 5.8

Mathis ’12 – -2.8 + 7.3 + -4.1 + -5.4

Jerry Hughes ’10 – -4.8 + 0.5 + -3.7 + 0.0

Werner – -5.5 + -5.9 + 0.2 + -0.6

Margus Hunt – -5.9 + -4.4 + 0.5 + -2.5

Erik Walden – -7.3 + -9.9 + 0.9 + 0.9

Datone Jones – -7.3 + -4.3 + -0.5 + -1.5

Barkevious Mingo – -7.9 + -5.4 + -2.8 + -1.7

Tank Carradine – 0

It’s no accomplishment to be in the middle or near the bottom of nearly every statistical category. But, clearly sacks aren't the only statistic that define a player like Werner’s successes & failures. Just look at the stats. Dion Jordan was selected with the 3rd overall pick. He has as many sacks as Erik Walden, and just 1 more than the 88th overall pick in this years draft. Something that I just want to add right here that’s gone unmentioned throughout this entire post, Werner wasn’t selected to play strong-side linebacker. He was drafted to succeed Robert Mathis. And, in areas that pertain to being a "linebacker" Werner has outperformed or performed very closely with Mathis in 2012, a rookie vs. 10-year-veteran.

The point I’m trying to make, whether or not your buying into it is, Werner’s development as a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 strong-side outside linebacker has been overshadowed by his inability to hit the quarterback this season. And, a lot of people on here have seemed to imply that pass rush technique, namely beating NFL offensive tackles, is not a trait that is taught & developed over time. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you I’m happy with Werner’s inability to get a hold of the quarterback this year. But, I’d like to think 235 snaps in the NFL is hardly adequate to determine whether or not a player is a draft bust after being selected 24th overall. And, the numbers show there are some positive takeaways thus far in his 2013 campaign.

I’ve got nothing else to write about. The last thing I want to do is just leave you with a key to cross reference with all these stats; that being each one of these players’ team & position. Read it, I thank you, and take it for whatever its worth to you.

Dion Jordan, Miami Dolphins, 4-3 RDE (back-up)

Ziggy Ansah, Detroit Lions, 4-3 RDE (starter)

Barkevious Mingo, Cleveland Browns, 3-4 Rush OLB, (back-up)

Bjoern Werner, Indianapolis Colts, 3-4 LOLB (back-up)

Datone Jones, Green Bay Packers, 3-4 LDE (reserve)

Tank Carradine, San Francisco 49ers, 3-4 RDT ( reserve)

Margus Hunt, Cincinnati Bengals, 4-3 LDE (back-up)

Corey Lemonier, San Francisco 49ers, 3-4 LOLB (back-up)



This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.

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