By: Shawn Williams
The Ohio State Buckeye program has done a terrific job producing pro level linebacker talent (including Miami Dolphin Jerome Baker), and that reputation will hold strong this year as Baron Browning, Justin Hilliard, Tuf Borland and Pete Werner are all expected to hear their name called during the three-day draft event. All four of them excelled for OSU’s defense, but there’s a reason some draft analysts are banging the table for Pete Werner, despite Browning garnering more attention.
Werner is eruptive off the snap, locating ball carriers or selling out on a pass rush. His motor is never off, but his discipline suggests his play is a very calculated and controlled chaos. He rarely makes mistakes, and has remarkable instincts and the ability to anticipate and process plays. It really doesn’t matter what side of the field the play goes to, because you’ll often find Werner around the ball regardless. He uses his hands well to fight off blockers, and has quick pursuit defending the run. His speed and athleticism allow him to provide sound man coverage on running backs, and he’s a capable zone defender as well.
While there’s so much to like, Werner is undersized with a wiry build. He may find it difficult to beat blocks, particularly in play-action, at the next level. Despite his size, his measurables are definitely impressive. Werner ran a 4.58 40, had a remarkable 39.5” vertical, displayed his quickness with a 6.95 3-cone/4.38 shuttle, and proved his strength with 20 bench reps at the Ohio State Pro Day.
Due to his size limitations, he’s likely not coming off the board ahead of some of the other linebacker talents, however he could easily be selected by the end of Day 2. Werner has the potential to be a very solid SAM in the NFL, and he could find himself starting very early in his career.
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