With the 24th overall pick in the 2013 draft, Indianapolis took Bjoern Werner, a German-born edge pass rusher from Florida State.
Werner fills an obvious need for the Colts, and will be tasked with filling the void left by the departing Dwight Freeney. The Colts did sign outside linebacker Erik Walden this March, but as I noted in my draft preview over at The Farm Club, his value is as a perimeter run stopper, and not as a pass rusher. With that in mind, the Colts needed a player in Werner’s mold.
Werner led the ACC and was third in the nation in sacks, with 13. For his three-season college career, he brought down opposing quarterbacks 23.5 times.
It is true that 6.5 his sacks last season came in the first three weeks of the season, against FCS Murray State and Savannah State, and Wake Forest (66th in the nation and 6th in the ACC in sack percentage allowed, according to TeamRankings.com).
There is a danger in reading too much into this. Production against bad teams is not on its own a reason to look down on a prospect. Steve McNair’s 16,000 yards of total offense, as well as Jerry Rice’s 50 touchdowns also came against 1-AA opponents.
However you want to judge Werner’s college production, college stats by themselves are hardly dispositive anyway. What is good news for the Colts is the praise given to Werner from scouts and analysts.
Dane Brugler of CBS had Werner as his top-ranked defensive end, touting his athleticism and footwork. He also praises Werner’s instincts in run defense, especially valuable for a Colts team that ranked last against the run in DVOA in 2012, and is used to its edge pass rushers struggling in run defense.