Born in Berlin, Bjoern Werner was a German exchange student in Connecticut who picked up football in high school, playing for two years before attending Florida State. After his sophomore and junior seasons, the talented defensive endhad tallied an impressive 20 sacks, 29 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, and 13 pass break ups and opted to declare for the NFL Draft with a chance to be the top defensive end taken in April.
Werner has a great build for the defensive end position possessing a ton of power, quickness and great feet. He also changes directions well and has good closing speed. Werner consistently displays a great motor and a lot of stamina enabling him to play a large number of snaps.
Werner displays excellent snap anticipation and puts the vast majority of opposing offensive tackles off balance immediately giving him an immediate advantage. He demonstrates an effective speed rush that is accented by a good dip move that enables him to turn the corner quickly and get under the blocks of offensive tackles on his way to the quarterback. This opens up his inside moves, especially slants in addition to Werner attacking to the outside initially before cutting underneath. Werner can work an effective bull rush, but needs to continue working on his leverage. He has a powerful punch that can jolt opponents and is able to keep blockers out of his body as a result. Werner also does a good job when it comes to getting up in the air deflecting passes as well as getting his arms up when he will not make it to the quarterback.
Purely as a run defender, Werner flashes the ability to stack and shed effectively, control offensive linemen and his angle to the play, and he moves well laterally down the line. He can be a powerful tackler and consistently wraps up opposing ball carriers. Werner does a pretty good job protecting his legs from opponents attempting to cut block him.
While Werner’s most natural fit is as a power end in a 4-3, he has the ability to play both end spots and he could play the elephant position in some 3-4 schemes, though it is not an ideal fit given his skills from a 3-point stance. The Seminoles lined him up at both end spots and as a rush linebacker on occasion.
While Werner has a great motor, he needs to do a better job finishing plays the way he starts them and go through the whistle more consistently. There are times when it stands out just how quickly Werner gears down and is preparing for the next play. He comes off the snap so well, but he also comes out too high most of the time. When he encounters a blocker he sees coming, he will then drop his hips to adjust and punch to regain some of his lost leverage. If he can fire out lower, he will further take advantage of his first step and be able to take on blockers even earlier, with more power, and better leverage.
When offensive linemen are able to engage him, he is often stood up which makes him off balance and easy to control, periodically resulting in Werner ending up on the ground. He needs to have more active hands and hand fight better when he becomes blocked. Too often he locks his arms on the offensive lineman and once they are locked on, he will just pump his legs to try to get free. There are also examples when his legs will stop churning and he ends up on the ground.
Werner makes his fair share of splash plays but he needs to be more consistently disruptive to opposing offenses and have more impact on games.
Bjoern Werner may not end up as the most exciting pick, but will likely be the type of pick that fans and teams end up grateful to have made. Werner has the potential to be franchise player but he should be no worse than a cornerstone in a team’s defense as well as a good locker room presence that just consistently does his job week to week. He appears poised to be the type of power end that can flirt with double digit sacks on a yearly basis as well as a consistent run defender. Werner has a chance to go as early as the #2 pick in the draft but will probably end up going closer to the bottom of the Top 10 with a small chance of lasting into the teens. Werner has a small chance of topping out in Chris Long territory but is more likely to end up comparing to Jabaal Sheard.