INDIANAPOLIS – Bjoern Werner ended his rookie camp on Sunday by saying he just wanted to justify to his Colts coaches why he was drafted as the 24th overall player taken.
Werner did not have to sell the sizzle. All he had to do was act naturally.
After the camp's conclusion, Chuck Pagano said Werner was big, fast, explosive and an easy learner, "He's just a natural."
While Pagano's assessment of Werner was pleasing to the ears of all Colts fans, it would have come as no surprise to his Florida State head coach, Jimbo Fisher.
"He was productive immediately," said Fisher of how Werner began his career at Florida State.
Werner arrived in Tallahassee after playing only two years of prep ball in Connecticut, and that came after Werner left his native Germany to pursue his dream.
When Werner walked on campus, he had low mileage on him, but Fisher noticed the big motor.
"He was one of those kids who when he came in and he did something (it wasn't), 'Look, I'm done,' then went and sat down," said Fisher. "He did what he had to do, whether it was lifting, whatever it was (and said), 'Hey, coach, what do you want me to do next? What do you want me to do? You tell me what our team (needs).'
"There was no governor on his work ethic or attitude. It was, 'What can I do and what do I need to do?' "
The 2010 season saw Werner play in 14 games, starting none. Still, he had 3.5 sacks and one pass defensed as a true freshman.
The graph quickly pointed upward – 13 starts in 2011, with seven sacks and eight passes defensed; 14 starts in 2012, with 13 sacks and eight passes defensed.
Bjoern Werner's Career Statistics
Florida State was not the only school where Fisher saw players who would compete at a higher level. His six years as a Seminole were preceded by 12 years in the SEC with Auburn and LSU.
Being a veteran of three schools exposed Fisher to a wide range of players with NFL talent. It was not long before Fisher knew Werner possessed such a Sunday ticket.
"I thought there was no doubt early on he had the ability to play on Sundays," said Fisher. "Then when you really got around the work ethic, the instincts, the leadership he had on the team, (you knew)."
It took Pagano one workout to see the real Werner.
"(He's) kind of what we thought, probably a little better," said Pagano. "He's a really athletic football player. He's got first-step explosiveness.
"You see him running around here doing some things, all the things we saw on the tape. Up close and personal now, it's even more impressive. He's a really bright guy. For playing the short period of time that he has, he really understands it."
Ryan Grigson marvels how Werner's play jumped off the screen during the evaluation process, and Indianapolis leaped forward with the draft card on April 25 when its turn came up.
"He's a (heck) of a player, 13 sacks, ACC Player of the Year," said Grigson. "We (see) a guy who had versatility within the scheme at both linebacker spots. It made us even like him that much more. He's a guy we think plays fast and plays hard. That's a great combo.
"Sometimes sacks can be misleading. (Werner's) production on paper matched his production on the tape. Sometimes you don't always get that. Sometimes you watch a guy who has double-digit sacks, but he's not even disruptive. This guy beats people one-on-one with his get-off, his want-to, his edge speed and ability to close on a quarterback. His anticipation of the snap count and get-off is something that really jumps out at you."
Fisher saw over three seasons what Grigson and Pagano witnessed in the scouting process – that Florida State benefited from a player who is an outstanding blend of intellect and ability.
"Very much so. One thing that is under-rated about him. Is he a 4.5 guy or 4.6 guy? No, but he's very fluid through his hips, very athletic, great balance and body control," said Fisher. "His instincts, feel for the game and work ethic, it sounds like I'm a coach saying the good things but I'm telling you, you can't imagine a how good a young man he really is."
Check back with Colts.com later in the week for more with Florida State's Jimbo Fisher on Werner.