FanPost

Thoughts on Bjoern Werner


So basically I just finished reading that article Brad Wells wrote, where he bashes all of the 2013 draft picks. I didnt like what he had to say about Werner especially because he is being forced to learn a new position. The ones who seem to have the most early success are the ones who actually played that hybrid position in college (think Courtney Upshaw, who had a very solid season last year).

Here is what Wells had to say about Werner:

And then there is Bjoern Werner, the team's first round selection, drafted No. 24 overall. While Werner seems to have talent, he was unable to beat out Erik Walden as the starting outside linebacker opposite Robert Mathis. Walden, a run-stuffer with limited pass rushing skills, is someone a first round pick should beat out.

From our observations during preseason, Werner has struggled mightily adjusting to the 3-4 outside linebacker position. He's getting run over on early downs, and he lacks burst off the line while rushing the passer from a stand-up position. Werner played defensive end almost exclusively at Florida State, but, when he was drafted, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano praised Werner as an "edge-setter" and pass rusher from the OLB position.

The general consensus is that if you played 4-3 DE, you can also play 3-4 OLB, which I would say is true most of the time, although there is definitely a much bigger adjustment than people realize. Take for example what each position is asked to do. Within the scheme of a 4-3, on running downs, the DE is there to set the edge on the run, and to force the running back to come back up the middle, so the MLBs can make the tackle. Within a 3-4, the OLB is asked to do the same thing, with the added caveat of having coverage responsibilities (because we cant assume that they will run the ball all the time). This forces the OLB to have to diagnose plays as they are happening, rather than simply rushing the quarterback or forcing the RB back to the inside.

The biggest difference, however, is on passing downs. The OLB may be asked to blitz, drop into zone coverage, or take the TE in man coverage. Three different possible responsibilities there. Additionally, when they are asked to blitz, they have to do so from a standing position, and most people who have played will agree that this makes it harder to beat the tackle. Lining up in a three or four point stance allows you to get your hands on the tackle immediately and use leverage to push them back, and flow right into a pass rushing move. You lose a lot of leverage when you have to rush from a standing position because it is harder to get low.

Now consider that Werner is being asked to switch from a 4-3 DE to a 3-4 OLB. He has to learn both zone and man coverage, because he has probably never played them, and he must learn to rush from the standing position, which is not easy (if you dont believe me go try it out, find a person or a tree or something and try hitting it from a three point and a standing stance. You will feel much stronger out of the three point). Thinking about just how much he has to learn to get on the field, it does not surprise me that he hasn't beat out Walden yet. I don't think it is a fair assessment by Wells to call him a 'bust' or an awful pick just yet.

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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