German native will have new home Thursday night
WFUV Sports will provide live coverage from historic Radio City Music Hall for the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft featuring draftee interviews, live updates from Jets and Giants camp, analysis from local and national writers across the country and pick by pick commentary. Each day this week, we will provide an in depth look at the draft, from the fan experience to local draft previews. Check in each day for a new prespective, and be sure to tune in live to One on One's NFL Friday: NFL Draft Edition on Thursday, April 25, 2013. Today, Nick Logerfo talks about the long journey Bjoern Werner's taken to the NFL.
The path to the NFL draft for most players is a winding and at times difficult road. It takes hours of dedication to the craft of playing the game of football and training your body to endure the strenuous physical contact of the game. For one player, the road to Thursday night is more unusual than most, and it started nearly 3,000 miles away from New York City in Berlin.
Bjöern Werner, a German native, started playing football when he was 15 as a foreign exchange student at Salisbury High School in Connecticut. Werner had 54 tackles (24 for losses), 12 sacks, and two fumble recoveries in his first season of playing football as a sophomore in high school. For his junior year, Werner would return to Germany to play for Berlin Adler, one of the most successful German American Football club teams ever. After a successful junior season in Germany, Werner returned to the US for his senior season at Salisbury and recorded 57 tackles and three sacks in just seven games.
It only took Werner three years of playing football to become a highly sought after college recruit, and he soon found college scouts coming from everywhere giving him offers to play at the next level. Werner eventually decided to attend Florida State, passing up an offer from Chip Kelly and Oregon. In just his fourth year of organized football Werner appeared in 14 games for FSU as a freshman and recorded 20 tackles and 3.5 sacks on the year. After three years at Florida State, Werner recorded 99 tackles including 23.5 sacks, and was named an All-American and ACC Defensive player of the year in 2012. Werner’s tremendous power and physical play established him as a force on one of the top run defenses in the country and one of the top prospects at this year’s NFL draft.
Bjöern Werner’s incredible road to the draft is just the beginning of what looks like a very promising NFL career. Werner is a great pass rusher and could fit in either a 4-3 or 4-3 fourth system very easily. He may not be the best athlete in the world, but what he doesn’t have in athleticism he makes up in his strength and power. Look for Werner to be one of the top defensive ends taken in the draft behind only Barkevious Mingo from LSU. If available, it would not be a stretch to see the Giants take the big fellow at 19 if he drops that far.
Werner’s story is just one of the many great back stories of this year’s draft and it helps us all remember how the NFL draft is one of the most special nights in all of sports. In the simplest form, the draft is a man walking on a stage every ten minutes reading a name, but to guys like Bjöern Werner and so many others it simply is so much more than that.