With the 60th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints selected Pete Werner out of Ohio State. Werner was one of the top linebackers at Ohio State. He led the team in tackles in 2020 after finishing second in tackles in 2019. Werner used the Ohio State pro-day to show out, putting up a 4.58 40-time, vaulting him up to a second round pick for the Saints.
Saints select Pete Werner in round 2 of NFL draft
The pick of Pete Werner in the second round fills a need for the New Orleans Saints. With the loss of Alex Anzalone and Kwon Alexander this off-season, the Saints found themselves short on startable linebackers. Werner will be asked to use his speed and tackling ability almost immediately by the Saints. Naturally, there are positives for some and negatives for others with the pick of Werner. Let’s examine the winners and losers of the Saints pick of Pete Werner.
Winners of the Pete Werner Selection
The biggest winner of the Pete Werner selection has to be Demario Davis. Davis has been one of the top linebackers in the league in recent years but has gotten very little help from other Saints linebackers. Werner can hopefully begin to contribute immediately, especially in coverages. Werner’s size and speed should help Davis be able to roam and use his instincts on the field more instead of being relied upon for inside coverages. In a division with Rob Gronkowski and now Kyle Pitts, covering tight ends will be a necessity.
Another winner of the selection of Pete Werner is the Saints fans. The Saints fanbase has fond memories of great linebackers in their history. Saints fans cherish linebackers, players like Jonathan Vilma, Rickey Jackson, Pat Swilling, and Sam Mills. Demario Davis has filled the need for a star linebacker, but having a linebacker unit will thrill new and lifelong Saints fans. If Zack Baun can step up in his second year as well, the Saints linebacker group could be menacing.
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Losers of the Pete Werner Selection
Mentioned above, Zack Baun could still be the biggest loser with the drafting of Pete Werner. Baun played sparingly in his first year with the Saints. Baun only accounted for 12 tackles on the year after appearing in 15 games. Baun played 82 snaps total on the year. Pete Werner comes in as an immediate threat to even these numbers. Even with a thin linebacker unit, Baun barely saw the field. Baun was third round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft but will need to take a huge leap forward this year to stay relevant in the NFL.
Potential losers of the selection of Pete Werner is the aforementioned NFC South tight ends. Kyle Pitts is now an Atlanta Falcon but will have to deal with Werner off the line. Werner has the size and speed to keep up with Pitts. Rob Gronkowski could also have his hands full with Werner. Gronkowski will not be able to outrun or bully the duo of Demario Davis and Pete Werner
Filling a need at linebacker
The New Orleans Saints filled a need with the selection of Pete Werner in the second round. Werner will likely be asked to contribute immediately to a very thin Saints linebacker unit. Ohio State players have been good picks for the Saints in the past several drafts. The organization and fans hope the Saints have once again found a jewel from the Buckeyes.
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