Growing up in Germany, there isn’t much exposure to football. Soccer is the sport of choice. Yet Florida State defense end Bjoern Werner bucked the trend and will make some team in the NFL very happy that he made that decision in the sixth grade. The “Germinator” is one of the best prospects in this year’s NFL Draft and heads to Indianapolis for the Scouting Combine with a lot of momentum on his side. The three-year starter at Florida State capped off a very good college career by being named the ACC Defensive Player of the year. Werner is still learning the game and he still has room to grow but he showed during his time in Tallahassee that sacking the quarterback and making game-changing plays on defense is something that comes naturally to him.
Bjoern Werner joined The Dan Patrick Show with Mike Florio filling in to talk about how he discovered football growing up in Germany, what he misses about Germany, when he realized he could play football at the highest level, what area of his game he has been working on most in preparation for the combine and whether it was a tough decision to leave Florida State early.
How he discovered football growing up in Germany:
“It’s a long story but long story short, in sixth grade I was 12-years-old, I just stopped playing soccer and in my school someone was throwing around this little blue football, this small flag football and I just liked it. Every break I started throwing it around and catching the ball. This kid, who was a classmate of mine, was already in the football club and he just asked me to join his club. I was like ‘okay why not?’ That’s how I got started with flag football and when you get older you automatically advance to the tackle football. I just fell in love with football.”
What he misses about Germany:
“The biggest thing of course is my family. When I was at Florida State I didn’t see them for like three years. They never came over and I could never go back because college football takes like the whole year and it’s really expensive to fly back so before the Orange Bowl was the first time I went home for five days to see my parents and my brothers for three years. Family is always first and even if you do fulfill your dream in a different country you can’t forget your family.”
When he realized he could play football at the highest level:
“I realized it when I was in Germany. That’s why I came over here. Of course it was big thinking but I had to have the confidence to move forward and go through the path I went through. You have to be motivated to do that and that is what I did. Now I’m here this close to being on an NFL team and I always knew I could do it, but now I have set myself up to go really, really high in the draft and it’s just an amazing feeling that I did all of this, sacrificed a lot and now it pays off.”
What he has been working on the most when it comes to getting ready for the Combine:
“There is not just one thing. The combine is such an overall thing, it’s like physical and also a mental aspect. I’m just trying to prove everything. I’ve never been at a training complex like the IMG Academy here and it’s just so much fun to get stronger and faster and get your mind stronger and I’m just trying to improve every aspect of the game. So far I’ve seen a lot of improvement and I can’t wait to prove myself at the combine.”
What is the best advice he has gotten on what to expect for the next few days:
“You’re going to be exhausted. There’s a lot of stuff going on in the four days and you’re going to have short nights and you better take a sleep.”
How hard it was to leave Florida State early:
“It wasn’t that hard of a decision. I had a great three years. I came in to college right away with that mindset of I want to play so I didn’t waste any time messing around. I had a great college career where I had the opportunity to play early, I was a starter for three years, I had good game film, I was talking with my wife, ‘Should we leave?’ Everything was just pointing towards, you should leave. That was my ultimate goal and I’m so close to it.”