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Meet Pete Werner, the underrated Ohio State LB Prospect

Hogs Haven takes a look at 2021 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the WFT

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Pete Werner, LB

School: Ohio State University | Conference: Big 10

College Experience: Senior | Age: ?

Height / Weight: 6’3” / 242 lbs

Projected Draft Status: 2nd-3rd Round

Player Comparison: K.J. Wright

College Statistics

Player Overview

Player Overview

Pete Werner may not be a flashy player, but he was a versatile for Ohio State. After playing mostly special teams his freshman year, he moved into a starting role at SAM linebacker. Werner’s athleticism allowed Ohio State to stay in base defense and use Werner like a strong safety instead of going to a sub-package. This role benefited Werner as he had not only 7.5 TFL and three sacks, but nine PBUs. His senior year, Ohio State decided to switch Werner to WILL linebacker. Despite playing six less games than his junior year, Werner only had 10 less tackles. Werner declined to participate in the Senior Bowl.

Strengths

  • Strong enough to take on blockers at line of scrimmage and shed them
  • Uses long arms to keep blockers off his body and disengage from them
  • Scraps along the line of scrimmage to track ball carriers and shoot gaps to make plays
  • Plays with good awareness in zone coverage and sticky in man coverage

Weaknesses

  • Needs to improve his hand usage to get off blocks more quickly
  • Slow to recognize playaction, allowing receivers in behind him
  • Can miss ball carries coming out of the backfield because he seeks taking on a blocker
  • Could be more effective as a blitzer and making plays behind the line of scrimmage

Let’s See His Work

How He Would Fit

A lot of people have focused on Baron Browning and Justin Hilliard, but I’m surprised there isn’t more love for Pete Werner as a LB prospect. He is athletic for his size and has good coverage skills in both zone and man. While I don’t think he’ll flex outside and cover WRs like he did at Ohio State, I do think he could cover most TEs in the league. He has the size and strength to play at the line of scrimmage. His position versatility means he could provide depth at other LB positions.

One of the reasons I like Werner as a prospect for Washington is he offers the versatility coveted by Rivera and Del Rio the team. I think his ideal position would be at SAM LB, which he played most often at OSU. He has the size, strength, and length to play on the strong side and cover many TEs in the league. Although I think he’s less suited for it, he could also play WILL if asked to do it. With Kevin Pierre-Louis gone and no free agent is bought in to play SAM yet, I think Werner would be a great option with one of the team’s third round picks. While other players might have a higher ceiling, Werner should be a safe, plug-and-play prospect.