INDIANAPOLIS – Late Thursday evening, Bjoern Werner became the 29th first-round draft pick in the Colts’ Indianapolis era.
To wit, he is the only one who described his emotions in German, “Unglaublich.”
Right back at you, Bjoern, the Colts and their fans are ecstatic, too.
Werner, 6-3, 266, is ticketed for an outside linebacker role in Indianapolis, a role where he got his feet wet in college.
“At Florida State I played a little outside linebacker in a 3-4 package,” said Werner. “I love it. I love it. I know I can do it. The coaching staff knows I can do it, and I can’t wait to do it.”
In three years in Tallahassee, Werner leveled quarterbacks 23.5 times, while tracking down ball carriers for losses on 35 of 99 occasions.
Described by Ryan Grigson as a talent that jumps off the screen at tape watchers, Werner offered no promise he is the next Dwight Freeney, but that he will “work hard and come every day and try and be the best player that I can be.”
Indianapolis was not swayed in its interest in Werner, despite what some observers termed as a slow time (4.8) in the 40-yard dash at the combine.
“We really look at a player’s “play-speed,” said Grigson. “(When) you put on the film, he’s the first guy off the ball every down. He has great get-off. His closing speed is excellent. He’s a guy we think plays fast and plays hard, that’s a great combo.”
Werner met Grigson and Chuck Pagano at a recent workout, and the two made him feel at ease. They wanted Indianapolis to be Werner’s future home.
“Oh man, I was so happy,” said Werner when drafted. “It’s one of the best programs out there right now, one of the hottest. What the coaching staff dealt with last year (was amazing). Coach Pagano, I connected with him when he worked me out a few weeks ago. I was wishing they would draft me and then that happened.”
Grigson and Pagano will welcome Werner personally in Indianapolis this afternoon, about three hours before they are back in the draft room seeking additions of more players.
Indianapolis holds no pick in today’s second round, unless Grigson uncorks a trade – it would be his 10th since joining the Colts – to move into it.
“I feel it is the lifeblood to an organization,” said Grigson. “They’re the players that you have under contract for four or five years. They grow together.
“I think it’s such a great thing that those guys who played for us last year did such a great job, and they’re like brothers. They came in together. They had great success together and they create a bond.
“You want a family here. You can’t do it if it’s all transient. You want your core to be from the draft. Successful teams in the league have done that.”
DRAFT NOTES – There were 15 trades conducted in Thursday’s first round. The first round lasted three hours, 33 minutes. Fourteen of 32 choices were underclassmen. There were seven DBs taken, five OTs and five DEs. Alabama and Florida State led with three selections, while Florida, Georgia, LSU, North Carolina and Oregon had two players drafted. The SEC led all conferences with 12 choices. The ACC was second with six. The selection of C-Travis Frederick (Wisconsin) was the Big Ten’s only choice, and it allowed the conference to have at least one choice in the first round in every draft since 1954. Three OTs – Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel and Lane Johnson – were taken in the top four picks, a draft first since 1967.