Position battle: Outside linebacker


INDIANAPOLIS -- All eyes shifted to Indianapolis Colts second-year linebacker Bjoern Werner immediately after the NFL announced the four-game suspension of linebacker Robert Mathis for violating the league's drug policy last month.

Werner is the leading candidate to start at outside linebacker while Mathis is serving his suspension. Quite simply, there's no reason why Werner should not be starting when the Colts take on the Denver Broncos in Week 1.

This is no offense to Cam Johnson, Daniel Adongo, Andy Studebaker and Jonathan Newsome.

Position: Outside linebacker

Primary candidate: Werner

Pro: Werner has the most experience of the group competing for the starting spot. He had 18 tackles and 2.5 sacks as a rookie. Werner also spent the majority of the offseason workouts working with the first unit.

Con: Just like the rest of the defense, Werner needs to work on being consistent. “I think he knows what's at stake,” Colts GM Ryan Grigson said. “I think you see it just in the way he's playing right now, just the way he's getting off the ball, the way his body looks, what he did in this offseason. He was a constant that was here every second. He was like a wall flower. He was here every time you turned around.”