The Indianapolis Colts will start rookie Bjoern Werner at outside linebacker this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals in place of the suspended Erik Walden. The NFL suspended Walden for one game for his headbutt of Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker in Week 11. This will be Werner's first start at any position during his rookie season.
The Colts drafted Werner out of Florida State with the 24th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Once considered to be a possible top-five pick, Werner slipped in part due to being a rather raw prospect. He had played just two years of high school football, but was a top prospect due to his extreme combination of size and athleticism. His raw background could be part of the reason that Werner has only played sparingly this year and recorded just seven tackles and 0.5 sacks.
Werner also missed three games in the middle of the season due to a foot injury.
Indianapolis signed Walden to a four-year, $16 million contract in the offseason after he had spent most of the last two seasons as a starting linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. He had started all 10 games for the Colts at strongside linebacker this year and is seventh on the team in tackles with two sacks, but as Indy is ranked 28th against the run, many fans have wanted to see more of Werner.
After Walden let his emotions get the best of him last Sunday, they will finally get that chance.