It's pretty rare that one team has two players from the same position go in the first round. But indeed it appears that is exactly what is likely to happen with Florida State at the defensive end spot, with Bjoern Werner and Cornellius "Tank" Carradine both projected to be selected on Thursday night.
But who would you rather have? It depends on who you are, what team you work for, and what sort of defense your team runs. Here are some thoughts on the matter.
Tale of the tape
Werner measured in at 6'3 and 266, with 33 1/4" arms. Carradine is at 6'4 and 276 pounds, with 34 3/4" arms. Advantage: Carradine.
This is advantage Werner and it isn't really close. Werner made more plays and prevented more plays from happening, despite Carradine's bigger tackle numbers.
This also goes to Werner. He's quicker and faster than Carradine, and is capable of playing with his hand on the ground or standing up, which allows him to be used in coverage. I don't think Werner would be anything special in coverage, but I think he offers more there than Carradine. Advantage Werner
Werner has more moves than Carradine, and absolutely has better burst off the ball. Carradine is considerably slower to react at the snap. That's not to say that Werner has elite burst, but he is noticeably better in that area. Because of this, Carradine often made a lot of plays in backside pursuit, when a strong effort from Werner would turn the play back to Carradine. That said, in pursuit and when not having to time the snap, Carradine shows excellent athleticism. In the pass rush, however, I do not think Carradine has the flexibility to get low and bend like some of the more elite pass rushers. He'll need to develop more moves, as his power rush won't always work in the league.
Both players have good power, though in 2012, Carradine was much more powerful. That's partially because Werner had shoulder surgery and lost serious upper body muscle during his recovery. He and Florida State tried to play if off as an intentional loss to get quicker, but nobody bought that, and his power waned. If Werner gains back his muscle, he should also get much of his power back. Advantage: Werner, for now.
Werner did a very good job making up for the mistakes of others, would bat down a lot of passes, and had far fewer missed assignments than did Carradine. Advantage: Werner.
Potential & projection
This one is advantage Carradine. Despite being American, Carradine actually has less football experience than Werner, at least at the position, as he was a safety in high school and then a linebacker before becoming the hulking defensive end we all see. Carradine has a greater ability to dominate due to his freakish athleticism, but also has for more questions than Werner, including injury questions (some think Carradine is over muscled and wonder is his frame can handle all that power). And that's not to say that Werner is without injury concerns, as he did have the shoulder surgery and was bothered by the hand injury.
Werner is much closer to being a finished product, while Carradine has a long way to go before maxing out. But the tools Carradine flashes are quite good.
I don't see Werner turning into an all-pro or someone against whom teams will need to scheme and double team, but I can see him as a starter for two NFL contracts. Carradine has the potential to be an all-pro, but is the larger risk and the steeper learning curve.
If I ran an NFL team that played a traditional 4-3 defense with some decent depth and needed someone who could stack up against the run immediately, I'd draft Carradine, because it wouldn't torpedo my season if he's not immediately a great pass rusher.
If I ran more mixed fronts and needed someone to plug and play, I'd take Werner.