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DE Tale of the Tape: Carradine vs. Werner

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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.

Two of the top defensive end prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft come from the same defensive line. Bjoern Werner and Cornellius "Tank" Carradine were teammates at Florida State, and both are looking like first round picks in this week's draft. When we compare the two Seminoles, we will consider the five most important characteristics scouts look for in the position:

  1. Physical Attributes: Size, speed, strength, balance, agility
  2. Pass Rush: Feet, use of hands
  3. Run Defense: Point of attack, strength vs. blockers
  4. Hands/Disengage: Ability to get off a block using hands
  5. Finish/Playmaking ability: Ability to finish

PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES

Carradine: At 6-foot-4, 276 pounds, he possesses good size for a DE. He has great length in his arms at 34¾ inches and large hands at 10¼ inches. The only test he performed at the combine was the bench press (28 reps), as he was still recovering from an ACL injury suffered at the end of the 2012 season. He did run a 4.75-second 40-yard dash for scouts at a recent workout only 4½ months removed from surgery.

Werner: At 6-3, 266, has decent size for NFL teams. He also has an average reach with 33¼  inches and hand at 9 5/8 inches. He had a decent showing at the combine (40: 4.83; Vertical Jump: 31 inches; Broad Jump: 111.0 inches; Shuttle: 4.40). Overall, his combine was unspectacular; in position drills he looked average.

Advantage: Even.The biggest reason is that numbers-wise, Werner has testing figures, Carradine does not.  From a size standpoint, Carradine has a body that could perform as a 4-3 or 3-4 end. If Tank keeps making progress in his rehab, that 4.75 could get faster. Carradine on film appears to display a bit more athleticism than Werner.

PASS RUSH

Carradine: Carradine is a good athlete who has enough quickness and athleticism to get around the edge and beat tackles in space. He has a quick first step and plays with a low pad level due to his natural flexibility. Displays explosive upper-body power and performs best converting his speed to power rush. He has quick hands to counter a tackle's punch, and counters well on an over set. He is effective with getting tackles to shift weight and taking advantage of them being off balance. Flashes innate feel for blockers leaning one way. Also flashes some torso flexibility when turning the corner. Good burst when he gets a line to hit home. Accelerates on contact. Showed off his ability to get after the QB in back-to-back ACC games vs Wake and Clemson.

Werner: Gets off the ball with excellent snap anticipation. Has good pad level and displays violent, quick and powerful hands. Shows good bend running a tight circle, allowing him to corner on a tackle. Werner lacks elite burst but shows good balance in competing with bigger tackles. When he can’t get to the passer, gets his hands up and bats down a number of passes (eight last season). Not as fluid or agile as other pass rushers off the edge. Does have a great counter when he gets caught up by a good tackle. Controlled Miami's Seantrel Henderson during most of their game.

Advantage: Carradine. He has the ability to counter if an initial move is neutralized. His long arms give him the opportunity to work over offensive tackles by gaining leverage. Playing on the right side defensively, Carradine faced left tackles, the best lineman on most squads. Tank also was far more consistent performer week-in and week-out.

RUN DEFENSE

Carradine: Excellent in run support; sets the edge well and has the ability to stack and shed blocks. Keeps his pads low when coming off the ball. Plays with power and strength and is strong at the point of attack. Non-stop motor; never quits on a play; excellent in pursuit. Can control the point with his hands. Gets stuck on blocks when he tries to shoulder into lineman. Against Florida in 2011, Carradine was all over the field, controlling the line of scrimmage.

Werner: Stout at the point of attack. Overall, he is better against the run than the pass. Uses his arms/hands very well to get extension to anchor the edge. Struggles vs. double teams against bigger offensive lines. Will get logged off at times due to poor technique or peeking inside. Despite the loss, was good vs. the run all day against N.C. State.

Advantage: Werner. He is a more aggressive player and better athlete in the open field. He has the speed to run down plays from behind. A rare athlete that has great versatility. Will need to develop some lower body strength and bulk.

HANDS/DISENGAGE

Carradine: Has strong hands vs. the run. Shows good extension and ability to control the point of attack. Is not consistent punching blockers vs. the run which can get him caught up with linemen. In the passing game, he has quick hands and uses his extension to his advantage. Has a good long reach that keeps blockers from grabbing him. Shows good counter moves when blockers get hands on him. He has a very effective swim move, beating tackles inside or out.

Werner: He uses his hands well with a strong punch to help shed blocks and redirect. Uses leverage with arm extension to make plays in the run game. Against the pass he has a solid punch, but doesn’t possess an array of rush moves or counters. Has trouble with tackles that get inside or have placement on him. He does have a knack to gets his hands up and bat down balls when he doesn’t get to the QB.

Advantage: Even. In the run, both players are relatively equal. Against the pass, you have one that can get off blockers better utilizing his hands and counters (Carradine), the other having a knack in defending passing lanes by knocking down balls (Werner).

FINISHING/PLAYMAKING

Carradine: Carradine is a relentless player. In 12 games, he logged 11 sacks and nine QB pressures along with 13 tackles for loss. Tank finished the year with 80 tackles and was the team’s leading tackler prior to his injury. Against Florida, Carradine proved he can consistently be a disruptive player vs. top competition.

Werner: Werner was the leading sack man for Florida State, but half of his 13 sacks came in the first three games against subpar competition (Murray State 4; Savannah State 1, Wake Forest 1.5). Over the next 11 games, Werner disappeared for chunks of time as a pass rusher. Werner also only recorded one QB pressure in that span. Werner finished the year with 42 tackles, placing him eighth on the Seminoles.

Advantage: Carradine. In 12 games, Carradine was the most consistent and disruptive playmaker for the ‘Noles. Werner is a productive player, and did lead the team in sacks, but consistency on Tank’s part is the overriding factor between the two.

OVERALL EDGE

Tank Carradine. Both players display “motors” and make second-effort plays. Carradine has a bit more versatility than Werner with his athleticism. He can rush either from the right or left sides, though predominately rushed from the defensive right.  Both players were disruptive and made their share of plays. Carradine has shown more consistency and productivity over the course of the season. His size gives him some merit as a 3-4 defensive end though he fits a 4-3 scheme better. Werner is limited to a 4-3 end and doesn’t show the athletic ability or the requisite awareness in space to be an effective 3-4 OLB. The biggest question in draft position will be the confidence teams have in Carradine’s recovery from ACL surgery.