Ohio State linebacker Pete Werner’s path to the NFL has been highlighted by a gradual shift into a more high-impact role on a Buckeyes defense that has been as loaded with linebackers during his tenure as any team in college football. Werner, whose initial starting role featured him at SAM and often aligned overtop of opposing tight ends in coverage or flexed onto the hash, has gradually been weaned into more of an every-down (and every-role) type player and has not disappointed. Werner’s size, hand power, and athleticism should afford him a prominent three-down role in an NFL defense—especially when accounting for how often the Buckeyes have charged him with playing on the fringes of the box and in coverage. Werner has baseline athleticism to live up to that expectation in the pro game as well, but he’s also got the size and power to shoot gaps and thud blocks and ball carriers alike. Werner looks the part of a starting NFL linebacker and should be expected to at least carve out a significant role for himself on a pro defense in 2021 before growing and evolving into an even bigger role.
Ideal Role: 4-3 SAM linebacker.
Scheme Fit: Werner is a fascinating fit as a 4-3 SAM backer but odd front defenses can make a strong case for him working inside as an ILB.
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