2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Will Anderson





  • Will Anderson, 6-4/235

  • Defensive End

  • Alabama


  • Will Anderson Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

    Strengths:
  • Dangerous edge pass-rusher
  • Tremendous instincts
  • Uses instincts to outsmart blockers
  • Advanced vision
  • Quality get-off
  • Has some pass-rushing moves
  • Excellent pursuit defender
  • Consistent source of pass pressure
  • Coverts speed to power
  • Assignment sound
  • Disruptive
  • Can cause havoc behind the line of scrimmage
  • Uses hands well
  • Can use his hands and feet at the same time
  • Plays with good leverage
  • Battles hard as a run-defender
  • Can chase down running backs down from the backside
  • Pad level
  • Quickness
  • Skilled at shedding blocks
  • Built up power
  • Strength to shed blocks
  • Experience against double-teams
  • Ready to play immediately




  • Weaknesses:
  • Lacks a dominant trait
  • Slightly undersized for an edge defender
  • Does not have dominant speed
  • Not especially explosive
  • Not overly strong
  • Does not have great length
  • Frame could be maxed out
  • Limited upside


  • Summary: Anderson was the rare freshman to start on Nick Saban’s defense, but Anderson proved his special ability with a superb 2020 season. He was third in the SEC with seven sacks while also recording 10.5 tackles for a loss and 52 tackles. Anderson was phenomenal in 2021, recording 101 tackles, 17.5 sacks and three passes defended. He was one of the most dominant players in college football. In 2022, Anderson collected 51 tackles, 10 sacks and an interception returned for a touchdown. He had a good year, but was not dominant.

    Anderson is a dynamic quarterback hunter capable of taking over games, dominating offensive lines, and making a game-changing play on any snap. He is quick off the ball, and his anticipation provides him a first-step that gives him a head start over his blockers. With good body lean, Anderson flies up field, and he is a threat to dart by tackles to just run around them to get to the quarterback. His burst translates to the inside as well, where he will dart past interior blockers and close on the quarterback in a hurry. Along with his instincts, Anderson has excellent vision to redirect his way through trash. He uses his hands and feet at the same time to work off blocks and continue to charge upfield.

    While Anderson is not as big as Myles Garrett or Jadeveon Clowney, Anderson is very strong for his size and has functional strength. Anderson is superb at shedding blocks through strong hands and has the ability to use his hands and feet at the same time. He has functional length to keep blockers away from getting a lock of his chest, and the length comes into play with him working off blocks. Anderson shows heavy hands, with shock in his upper body, to knock blockers back off balance and bull rush through them.

    In the ground game, Anderson is tough as well, and his 2021 tackle total was no fluke. He is tough to hold his ground and set the edge taking on offensive tackles. Regularly, Anderson sheds blocks and works his way to the running back to make a tackle. He is dynamic in pursuit and cutting down runs from the backside. Anderson’s competitiveness and drive can be seen in him being a well-rounded player who is willing to the dirty work as a run defender.



    However in speaking to a number of team sources during the fall of 2022, they said they did not see a freak athlete or generational talent with Anderson. They saw a good football player, but not a player with a special skill set like other high first-round pass rushers like Garrett, Chase Young, Clowney, or the Bosa brothers.

    “I love Will Anderson but have some question as to how well his dominance will translate to the NFL,” said an AFC director of player personnel. “What is his dominant trait other than instincts? Size? No. Speed? No. Strength/power? No. He’s not special athletically, so are these sack numbers inflated? Then you ask yourself, ‘could he be an anomaly guy like a Shaq Barrett?’ You aren’t sure how he’s getting all those sacks, but you can’t argue with the production.”

    At 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Anderson has quality height, but he is undersized in terms of weight and strength for playing on the edge in the NFL.

    “He’s definitely not a freak athlete,” said an AFC director of college scouting.

    Anderson was not dominant on the field in 2022, and some sources felt Anderson may have been protecting himself to avoid injury before the 2023 NFL Draft.

    “They are playing him squeezed inside too tight at times, which doesn’t help his cause,” said an NFC director of college scouting. “But he doesn’t have a dominant athletic trait. His motor was his biggest strength last year, but he looks like he’s chocked it back some this year. He’s taken a step backwards in 2022.”

    “I think his motor, competitiveness and fundamentals make him a very safe player more so than a dominant force,” said an NFC director of player personnel.

    In the 2023 NFL Draft, Anderson looks likely to be a top-five pick.



    Player Comparison: Shaq Barrett/Khalil Mack. As stated above, some team sources have compared Anderson to Barrett. Some other sources compared Anderson to Mack.






    RELATED LINKS:


    2023 NFL Mock Draft: Charlie’s | Walt’s


    2023 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings


    2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports








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