By virtue of an 11-5 regular season record, the Colts had to wait for their opportunity to make a first-round draft selection. With the 24th pick, the Colts grabbed defensive end Bjoern Werner from Florida State. The pick helps make up for the loss of Dwight Freeney.
There wasn’t as much anticipation in Indianapolis for the NFL Draft this year compared to last April, however, but the Colts still appear to have grabbed an impact player. General Manager Ryan Grigson opened his post-pick news conference by calling Werner, “a helluva football player” He also deflected questions about the possibility to trade down in the draft for multiple picks when Werner was available.
Grigson shared a little bit of insight into the Colts draft room once the team with the 23rd pick, Minnesota had made its selection, ensuring the Colts could grab Werner.
“We knew after Minnesota made there pick, it was the high fives and things that you want to be feeling when you’re making that pick. We were really, really happy he was there. We had some guys in the back burner that we would feel good about, but Bjoern for awhile now has been a guy, as this process winded down, we’ve been really, really kind of having the itch for and we got him.”
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano talked about some of Werner’s positive attributes. “He’s got a high motor. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s got a great get off. He’s been rushing the passer for a long time down at Florida State; you know how thtey like to put those guys on the edge,” explained the Colts head coach.
Werner was the ACC defensive player of the year and led the conference with 13 sacks. He grew up in Germany and came to the United States as a sophomore foreign exchange student. Head Coach Chuck Pagano confirmed that while Werner played mostly defensive end in a 4-3 defense at Florida State, he will be an outside linebacker with the Colts.
During a conference call with Indiaanpolis-media, Werner was asked if he is “the next Dwight Freeney.” Werner replied, “I can’t promise you that but I can promise you that I’m going to work hard and come every day and try to be the best player I can be.”
Fox 59 will have additional reactions from Werner on Friday when he visits the Colts complex after spending Thursday night in New York City for the draft festivities.