New Orleans Saints draft former Irish player

Streiff coached Pete Werner during his junior, senior years

Pete Werner '17, right, has reported to rookie camp for the New Orleans Saint.

Photo submitted

Pete Werner ’17, right, has reported to rookie camp for the New Orleans Saint.

Luke Spencer, Sports Editor

Yet another former Irish football player has been drafted into the NFL. Mr, Pete Werner ‘17, former Cathedral football standout and Ohio State linebacker, was picked by the New Orleans Saints with the 60th selection in the second round of this year’s draft. 

Werner joins nine other former Cathedral players who have been drafted. Mark Clayton ‘79, Moe Gardner ‘86, Darrick Brownlow ‘87, Blaine Bishop ‘88, Jeremy Trueblood ‘01 and Mathias Kiwanuka ‘01 are all retired, while Jack Doyle ‘08 (Colts), Ted Karras ‘12 (Patriots) and Terry McLaurin ‘14 (Washington Football Team) are still active in the league.

Athletics Director and former head football Head Coach Mr. Rick Streiff coached Werner during his junior and senior years, and noticed early on that Werner was special. Streiff said, “We went up to play in Mishawaka and beat a pretty good Mishawaka team, and he had probably 10 or 11 tackles, and I thought ‘Oh, OK. This guy might be all right when it’s all said and done’ ”

Werner was not just special on the football field. According to Streiff, he excelled on the track and in the classroom as well. Streiff said, “Academically, he was a high level student and very smart.” He added, “He was one of our more gifted athletic kids. Also ran on the track team, he ran the 4 x 100 and the 4 x 400 relays.”

Streiff believes that the Saints will be a great fit for Werner, although the pick was a little surprising. According to Streiff, Werner only had one conversation with New Orleans prior to being drafted. He also added, “(New Orleans) didn’t contact me. I had some other teams contact me.” 

Despite the unexpectedness of the pick, Streiff believes there is a great opportunity for Werner with the Saints. He said, “I think they probably knew what they were getting, and getting a guy that could play special teams, and maybe be a starter down the road.”

Some NFL scouts prior to the draft questioned Pete’s size at the linebacker position, but Streiff believes that the Saints have a plan to implement him into the defense somehow. He said, “They don’t draft a guy in the second round that doesn’t do what they need a linebacker to do. It’s all about being in the right place and in the right system to be successful.”

Despite his supposed lack of size, Streiff believes Werner has many strengths that will help him to become successful in the NFL. He said, “He is football savvy, so he knows how to play the game, and he runs well. But it’s his mental approach to the game that will make him succeed.”

From having multiple former players drafted into the NFL, Streiff has noticed some similarities that have helped these individuals reach their goal of playing at the highest level. He said, “First of all, you have to be the right athlete. Second of all, you need to be mentally very tough and very strong. And third, you better be very smart. The idea of a dumb football player is a fallacy, especially at that level. The guys that make it are the guys who have the athletic ability, but it’s the guys who are mentally tough and are smart are the guys that have success.”

Streiff saw Werner the day after the draft, at a post draft party at the Werner’s house. He said, “I congratulated him. I’m happy to see that everything that he’s put into (the game) has paid off.”

Pete was scheduled to report to rookie camp in New Orleans on May 14.