INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Grigson spoke recently of his hope of having a player available on the draft board at the 24th slot that would cause “fist bumps” and “high fives” when the Colts were picking.
Grigson and Chuck Pagano worked out Florida State defensive end/outside linebacker Bjoern Werner prior to the draft and came away impressed.
When Indianapolis went on the draft clock around 11 p.m. Thursday, not many seconds elapsed before a Seminole from Germany was headed to Indianapolis.
“You turn on the film and he jumps off the screen at you,” said Grigson. “He’s one of those guys you watch and say, ‘He’s not going to be there.’
“He’s a (heck) of a player, 13 sacks, ACC Player-of-the-Year. This guy is productive, plays hard. (He had) eight batted passes this year, plus 13 sacks, a ton of TFL’s (loss-tackles) and is a team player. (He) fits coach’s mold as a human being and football player.”
Born and raised in Berlin, Werner (6-3, 266) did not play football until age 14 and after two years of prep action in Connecticut, he wound up at Florida State because of the chance to play defensive end.
Werner started 27-of-41 games in three seasons, producing 99 tackles (35 for losses), 13 pressures, 23.5 sacks, 17 pass breakups and three fumbles forced and recovered.
Grigson’s intuitive nature honed in on Werner during the campus workout. He saw a player who could fill niches with the Colts.
“Coach (Pagano) and I saw a guy who had versatility within the scheme at both linebacker spots,” said Grigson. “There’s added value there. We were able to pin down that he could drop, that he has those traits as well – sam or rush.
“That solidified in our minds his value. It made us even like him that much more.”
Werner had 13 of his sacks this past season, starting all 14 games. Eight of his batted passes and 18 of his tackles for losses helped make him a unanimous All-America pick.
Florida State led the nation in 2012 by allowing only 3.86 yards per play, while ranking second in total defense (254.14) and in the top six in five other categories.
Werner finished among the Florida State career leaders in many areas. Grigson noted the numbers related to victories and were not “mirage-type” accomplishments.
“Sometimes the sacks can be misleading. A guy might get five sacks against a poor team,” said Grigson. “This guy’s production on paper matched his production on the tape.
“Sometimes you watch a guy who has double-digit sacks, but he’s not even disruptive. He might have gotten three garbage sacks in one game. He might have gotten three sacks that were due solely to scheme, twists, stunts, things like that. This guy beats people one-on-one with his get-off, his want-to, his edge speed and ability to close on a quarterback.”
Leading his second draft, Grigson got his man. Last year, it was
Now a disruptive component is added to aid a defense that needs to create pressure and turnovers. The Colts did not average one takeaway per game in 2012 and leveled opposing quarterbacks 32 times.
The moment to add such a force caused the appropriate emotion in the draft room.
“It was the high fives and the things you want to be feeling when you make that pick,” said Grigson. “Bjoern for a while now has been a guy we’ve been having the itch for. We got him. We were really, really happy he was there.”