Colts take Werner with No. 24 pick in NFL draft

By MICHAEL MAROT - AP Sports Writer
    2013-04-25 23:36

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Colts general manager Ryan Grigson ignored the times and watched Bjoern Werner's game tape.

What he saw was a football player who plays fast - certainly fast enough to outweigh concerns over his 40-yard dash times. So when the Colts saw the 6-foot-3, 266-pound defensive end from Florida State available with the 24th pick overall Thursday night, they wasted no time in passing up trade offers and selected the native German who they're planning to move to outside linebacker.

``You turn on the film and he jumps off the screen at you. He's one of those guys you watch and immediately say, `He's not going to be there,''' Grigson said. ``But like we talked from the beginning, you take the combine with a grain of salt. It factors, but you shouldn't let a great player slide by you because he didn't blow out a great 40 time. This guy is productive, plays hard, is a team player too and fits coach's mold as a human being and a football player.''

If the transition from defensive end to linebacker goes as smoothly as the one Werner made from soccer to American football, the Colts will have a steal.

Werner said he changed sports at age 12, starting with two years of flag football. That's three years earlier than listed on his bio.

Neither that discrepancy nor his 40-yard dash time of 4.83 seconds at the combine mattered to the Colts. They had him rated higher because of what they saw on film and in a personal workout. They also saw a player who could replace the franchise's career sacks leader, Dwight Freeney, and supplement the Colts' No. 2 sacks man, Robert Mathis, in the lineup this fall.

``He (Werner) is an edge setter. We always talk about those guys, first and foremost, being able to set the edge in the run game. He can certainly do that,'' coach Chuck Pagano said. ``He's a dynamic pass rusher. He's a guy that obviously we knew we needed to address that (pass rush) and he's the highest player on the board at the time. We can do a lot of things with this guy.''

Pagano started laying out those possibilities even before Werner, who watched the draft in New York City, made it onto a conference call with local reporters.

The Colts believe he can play strong-side linebacker, rush linebacker or perhaps even play on the defensive line. He could even help the Colts as a fullback in goal-line situations, something Pagano said he's already discussed with new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.

Of all the moves they made in free agency, this was one glaring need. Indy filled in two gaps on the offensive line, replaced departed receiver Donnie Avery by adding former first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey and brought in six new defensive players, all of whom they expect to be immediate contributors.

But none of those players has a pass-rushing resume quite like Werner's and he can't wait to prove it.

``Coach Pagano, I just connected with him when he worked me out a couple of weeks ago and I can't wait to meet with them,'' Werner said after explaining his emotions by using the German word for excited. ``I'm happy they picked me.''

Werner is also part of a new wave of foreign-born players entering the league.

The good news is that he's a fast learner.

He landed in America as a foreign-exchange student at a Connecticut high school. Florida State thought enough of Werner's play to offer him a scholarship and he rewarded the Seminoles by playing in all 14 games as a true freshman, starting the last 27 games and finishing his three-year career with 99 tackles, 23 1/2 sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 17 pass breakups.

Last season, Werner was so dominant he finished with 13 sacks and eight pass breakups that he was named the ACC's defensive player of the year.

Grigson and Pagano were convinced he was their guy even before leaving town to put Werner through a workout.

When they returned and took another look at the tape, they were convinced Werner could be the guy and when he was still around for the 24th pick, the high-fives began flying around the Colts' meeting room.

``We really look first and foremost at the player's `play speed,''' Grigson said. ``There have been a lot of players that have come off draft boards throughout the history of this league that didn't run great, they ran OK, they didn't run pedestrian times but they didn't blow anyone's barn doors off. But you put on the film and he's the first one off the ball every down, he's got great get-off, he can bend and his closing speed is excellent on film. So he plays the game at a higher rate of speed. He just doesn't run 40 yards and I don't think he's going to have to rush the passer in that type of measurement.''


Online: http://pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Julio JonesOct 13 12:32p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring, toe) is expected to play Thursday, Oct. 15, against the New Orleans Saints, according to head coach Dan Quinn.

Josh JohnsonOct 13 12:22p

Free-agent QB Josh Johnson (Colts) was signed to the Buffalo Bills' 53-man roster Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Le'Veon BellOct 13 01:22a

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell carried 21 times for 111 yards and the game-winning touchdown with no time left in regulation in Week 5 against the San Diego Chargers [ More ]

Philip RiversOct 13 01:12a

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers completed 35 of his 48 pass attempts for 365 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the Week 5 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday, Oct. 12.

Antonio GatesOct 13 01:12a

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates posted game highs with nine receptions, 92 yards and two touchdowns in the Week 5 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday, Oct. 12.

Antonio BrownOct 13 01:12a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown had three receptions for 45 yards in the Week 5 game against the San Diego Chargers Monday, Oct. 12. He was targeted six times.

Steve JohnsonOct 12 07:12p

The San Diego Chargers have declared CB Craig Mager, DL Darius Philon, RB Donald Brown, OT King Dunlap, OG Orlando Franklin, WR Stevie Johnson, LB Tourek Williams inactive for Week 5.

B. RoethlisbergerOct 12 07:12p

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared LB Anthony Chickillo, QB Ben Roethlisberger, OG Chris Hubbard, CB Cortez Allen, DL Daniel McCullers, TE Jesse James, LB Ryan Shazier inactive for Week 5.

Julio JonesOct 12 07:02p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring, toe) did not participate in practice Monday, Oct. 12.

B. RoethlisbergerOct 12 06:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee) wants to play in the Week 6 game against the Arizona Cardinals. The Steelers have not ruled out the possibility of Roethlisberger playing but consider it a longshot.

Justin ForsettOct 12 06:02p

Baltimore Ravens RB Justin Forsett (ankle) avoided a high-ankle sprain in a Week 5 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Head coach John Harbaugh said Forsett could still play this week.

Jamaal CharlesOct 12 05:42p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles' (knee) MRI confirmed a torn anterior cruciate ligament, according to a source. Charles will likely miss the rest of the season.

Peyton ManningOct 12 05:32p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning won't be benched in favor of QB Brock Osweiler, according to head coach Gary Kubiak. 'No. Peyton is doing just fine.'

S. RichardsonOct 12 04:02p

New York Jets DE Sheldon Richardson was officially added to New York's active roster Monday, Oct. 12. TE Wes Saxton was waived.

Jordan ReedOct 12 03:52p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (concussion, knee, ankle) has shown some improvement but is still going through the concussion protocol, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Joe HadenOct 12 03:52p

Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (concussion) is expected to miss Week 6 against the Denver Broncos due to concussion protocol.

Blake BortlesOct 12 03:22p

Updating previous reports, Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' (shoulder) sprained his throwing shoulder Sunday, Oct. 11, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It is uncertain if Bortles will be able [ More ]

Josh McCownOct 12 03:12p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown (ankle) suffered an ankle sprain in a Week 5 win against the Baltimore Ravens. He is hopeful he'll be able [ More ]

Marques ColstonOct 12 03:02p

New Orleans Saints WR Marques Colston (shoulder) has at least a separated shoulder and could have some structural damage in the shoulder, according to a source. Colston suffered the [ More ]

Antone SmithOct 12 03:02p

Free-agent RB Antone Smith (Falcons) signed with the Chicago Bears Monday, Oct. 12. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Jacquizz RodgersOct 12 02:52p

Chicago Bears RB Jacquizz Rodgers (arm) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Oct.12, because of a fractured arm.

Dwight FreeneyOct 12 02:32p

Free-agent LB Dwight Freeney (Chargers) signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals Monday, Oct. 12, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Odell Beckham Jr.Oct 12 02:22p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) is dealing with a hamstring injury, but the team hopes he will be able to practice on at least a limited [ More ]

Marshawn LynchOct 12 02:02p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (hamstring) should be able to play in Week 6 against the Carolina Panthers if he doesn't suffer any setbacks this week, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Blake BortlesOct 12 02:02p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (shoulder) likely will not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 14, but that should not indicate his status for the Week 6 game against the [ More ]

Blake BortlesOct 12 01:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (shoulder) suffered a Grade 1 shoulder sprain during the team's Week 5 game and his status will be updated later in the week, according to head coach Gus Bradley.

Charcandrick WestOct 12 12:52p

Kansas City Chiefs RBs Charcandrick West and Knile Davis both expect to split carries with RB Jamaal Charles (knee) expected to miss the rest of the season, and head [ More ]

Andrew LuckOct 12 12:52p

Indianapolis Colts QBs Andrew Luck (shoulder) and Matt Hasselbeck (illness) both practiced in full Monday, Oct. 12, according to head coach Chuck Pagano. Luck missed the last two weeks [ More ]

Matthew StaffordOct 12 11:22a

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford will remain the starting quarterback, despite being benched in Week 5 Sunday, Oct. 11.

Josh JohnsonOct 12 11:12a

Indianapolis Colts QB Josh Johnson was released Monday, Oct. 12.

Dez BryantOct 12 10:22a

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (foot) had bone marrow stem cells removed from his hip and injected into his ankle last week to help improve the healing process. The [ More ]

Matt CasselOct 12 02:02a

Dallas Cowboys QB Matt Cassel could get a chance in Week 7 after the team's bye, as head coach Jason Garrett said Sunday, Oct. 11, he will evaluate a [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group