Who is the Saints LB Pete Warner?
By: Courtney Burrows
So, the draft has come and gone, and now it is time to grade teams, picks, and potential future of these young athletes. Back in the beginning of April, I wrote an article for a Saints Mock Draft and selected Pete Werner, LB out of Ohio State in their 3rd round. As we now know, the Saints landed Werner in the 2nd round at Pick 60th overall, which I do think might have been one round too early. The Saints have drafted five Ohio State players in the past few years that have performed well for us like WR Michael Thomas and CB Marshon Lattimore. So needless to say, The Saints have had success with Buckeyes! Here’s to hoping that Werner makes the same big name for himself in the Big Easy. Linebacker was also an immediate need the Saints had to fill with the loss of Alex Anzalone and Kwon Alexander in the offseason. Pete Werner can and will be an immediate starter.
Werner is a stout run defender who is fast and athletic for his 6’2” 242 lb. frame. At Ohio State, he led in 2020 with 54 tackles and was second on the team in 2019 with 64 tackles. He should immediately step into the WLB role alongside Demario Davis, who was named a first-team All-Pro in the NFC by the Associated Press. Werner fits well as he should be able to hold the line while the more athletic and quicker Davis can move off and pounce in the open field. Having both strong defenders in the middle of the line will help to stop the run and rush the pass. Ultimately, this will help the Saints to continue to compete in the NFC South. Werner is an extremely smart player who fits into Coach Payton’s defensive scheme and will help round the front seven. The one thing I notice from watching the tape was that he is not strong with open field tackling he is fast and gets there but needs to fine-tune and wrap up tight ends and others, but that is definitely something that is coachable. I feel he will give the defending NFC and Super Bowl Champ Buccaneers’ TE Gronkowski and run for his money.
Will Pete Werner be a Pro Bowler for the Saints? That is the question that all fans look at when combing over rookies and what they can do for the team. I would like to hope that the combination of Davis and Werner translate into a new era similar to when Jonathon Vilma and Scott Fujita ran the defense and helped the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV. Vilma was the leader and tremendous in coverage and Fujita helped to the line and stop the rush. Though Fujita was never a Pro Bowler, Vilma was named to the Pro Bowl and All-American Team multiple times. In the Saints Super Bowl season, Vilma had 58 to Fujita’s 43 solo tackles. They both were a defensive wall that stopped many opponents in their tracks. This is the future for the Saints defense. Davis should step up and become the leader that the front seven need, and with that will come helping the young, talented Werner. Together they will continue to disrupt defensives and keep the Saints on track to again fight for their place atop the NFC South. So, the question is will Werner become a Pro Bowle? Yes, in time I think he has all the pieces to become one, but first Davis will get that honor this year and help to mold Werner into our future.