Prior to the Discover Orange Bowl, Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner found time to catch a plane to his hometown of Berlin, Germany. He wanted to talk with his parents about possibly leaving school early to enter the NFL draft.
The flight? No problem. The conversation? A little more complicated.
“They don’t understand the half of it,” Werner said with a chuckle, explaining that professional soccer is the basis for their knowledge of pro sports. “They think I’m in the NFL already, but I was like, ‘No, there’s a whole five-month process you have to go through until you get drafted. It’s funny to explain all of this to my parents.”
Werner and his family are going to be schooled quickly on the process. Werner, likely a first-round pick in April’s NFL draft, held a teleconference with reporters on Friday afternoon and spoke about his decision to leave FSU early. He said he spoke with his coaches and made up his mind after the ACC championship game and before the Seminoles’ bowl game against Northern Illinois.
“What I’m projected to go, I can’t really improve that much,” he said. “Usually every coach says if you’re projected to be in the first round, you should leave. That was the case.
“There’s not much left in college for me,” he said. “I won the ACC, I won the Orange Bowl, and it’s just a nice way to go out, you know what I’m saying?”
Werner said he is already at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where he will train for the draft, and he has hired the same agent as coach Jimbo Fisher, Jimmy Sexton. Werner ranks seventh in the NCAA in sacks per game and second in total sacks (13). In 2012, he finished with 42 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and eight pass breakups. He entered the Orange Bowl leading the nation in yards accumulated on tackles behind the line of scrimmage (134).
While cognizant of the injury risks that come with returning for a senior season, Werner said the season-ending injuries to teammates Brandon Jenkins and Tank Carradine weren’t major factors in his decision.
“They’re happy for me, I’m happy for them,” he said. “I know they’re going to come back from all of their injuries and do great.”
“This was my ultimate dream when I came from Germany, to play in the NFL,” he said. “I never imagined I could leave a year early, but I set up myself through my Florida State career pretty good that I get the opportunity to leave early.”