2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Pete Wernerby Mason Thompson April 14, 2021 0 comments
Ohio State has sent a plethora of linebackers to the NFL since 2000. The trend continues once again this year as the Buckeyes have four linebackers eligible for the draft. Baron Browning (report here), Pete Werner, Justin Hilliard, and Tuf Borland will find themselves on an NFL roster come May. In this scouting report, we will be talking about Werner. He played many roles during his time at Ohio State and has elite length at the linebacker position. He will likely be the second of the four Buckeye linebackers selected in just a few short weeks.
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Name: Pete Werner
School: Ohio State
Weight: 242 lbs
Werner is a very inconsistent tackler. He either seems to be a bit tedious to find the right moment to attack the ball carrier or too aggressive, and it allows the runner to get right by him with a simple stutter step. Werner has his best moments when he can tackle the ball carrier heads up and hold on while reinforcements arrive.
Sideline-to-Sideline Ability (5.75/10)
Werner isn’t a horrible athlete, but he isn’t a good one either. He is average in this regard and doesn’t have the best sideline to sideline speed to play as the starting MIKE linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. Werner played some safety during his time at Ohio State and could cover some slower receivers and tight ends but won’t do well against slot receivers.
Werner has a good understanding of plays developing in front of him. He doesn’t react as quickly as many would like, but he isn’t super slow in this regard. Werner has phases where he is one of the best players on the field and is great at play recognition, while other times, he looks lost.
Werner can play in virtually any scheme at any linebacker position. He may be best suited as a 4-3 WILL, but using him as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme isn’t a bad decision either. Werner had some plays at safety for the Buckeyes. He was also be used as a madman blitzer, shooting through the interior of the offensive line to attack the quarterback. He is great in coverage and is a solid run defender.
Werner will try to layout the ball carrier sometimes, and it results in a lot of missed tackles. There are also times where he will leave a wide-open lane for the running back to cut back to when Werner would come downhill in an attempt to make a tackle but get caught up in a mess of other players.
Block Shedding (8.5/10)
Length and power are a specialty for Werner. He is a menace as a blitzer up the middle and waits for the perfect time to either run through gaps or run through a running back or tight end. Werner can bully his way to getting to the ball carrier in an instant.
Short-Area Quickness (8/10)
Despite not having great athleticism, Werner has a great get-off when he is used on blitzes. He can fly through the line of scrimmage and bully the quarterback by throwing him to the ground.
Werner has an outstanding feel in zone coverage. In man coverage, he will struggle against quicker players. Against taller, less athletic pass-catchers, Werner handles them well. He could even line up on the outside one-on-one against receivers at times.
Football IQ (8/10)
Werner has steadily developed in this category. He went from the middle of the defense to playing more towards the hashes to work against receivers and tight ends. When Ohio State needed a play, Werner was seemingly always the one to make it by forcing a fumble or making a big hit. In some cases, his eagerness and aggressiveness hurt him in situations.
Competitive Toughness (5/5)
Werner is so physical that it can come back to bite him at times. He is always fighting to make a play and is near the football on almost every play. When Werner sees a path to the ball carrier, he’s a man on a mission.
Werner suffered a small injury during high school, but his injury sheet at Ohio State was clean.
Many people on Draft Twitter are enamored with Werner, and it is easy to see why. His old-school type of play paired with his length and coverage skills make him an intriguing specimen. Werner will likely be selected on day two of the draft and battle for a starting spot at either a WILL or SAM linebacker spot that can sprinkle in some plays at the MIKE spot as well. His main weaknesses fall in his sideline to sideline speed and inconsistent tackling. If Werner can fix those issues and be a little less aggressive, he will be a steal for whichever team takes him on Friday, April 30th.
Final Grade (79.5/100): Mid Third Round