Drafted: ROUND: 1 - Pick Number: 3 (HOU)
Draft Profile: BioWill Anderson Jr. from Dutchtown High School was rated a 4-star recruit by ESPN and handed a 5-star grade by 247 Sports after making 22 sacks as a senior. After high school, Anderson Jr. joined Alabama after being heavily recruited.
In 2020 as a freshman Anderson Jr. saw action in 13 games and played a total of 646 snaps for the Crimson Tide. He recorded 32 tackles, 7 assists while adding 26 stops. As a pass rusher, he added 60 total pressures, which included 36 QB hurries, 16 QB hits, and 8 sacks on the season.
As a sophomore for the Crimson Tide in 2021 he played in 15 games and took part in 873 snaps for the Crimson Tide. He had a massive year as he recorded a 57 tackles, 18 assists, while adding 53 stops. As a pass rusher, he chalked up a huge 81 total pressures, and 55 QB hurries, 11 QB hits, and an outstanding 15 sacks during the year.
In 2022 as a junior Anderson had another great year although not quite as impressive as 2021 while playing in 12 games and contributing on 652 snaps. He recorded 23 tackles, 14 assists while making 30 stops. As a pass rusher, he produced 59 total pressures, which included 36 QB hurries, 9 QB hits, and an outstanding 14 sacks on the year.
Honors & awards
- Career: Two-time Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner -- only second player to do so in award's history
- Career: Two-time Unanimous first-team All-American
- Career: Two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year
- Career: Two-time first-team All-SEC
- 2022: Chuck Bednarik Award
- 2022: Lott IMPACT Trophy
- 2022: Rotary Lombardi Award
- 2020: National Freshman of the Year (Football Writers Association of America)
- 2020: Freshman All-America (FWAA, 247Sports and The Athletic)
- 2020: SEC All-Freshman Team
- 2020: Second-team All-SEC (Associated Press)
- Career: Second in program history in tackles for loss (62) and sacks (34.5) -- trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas in both categories
- 2021: Led FBS with 34.5 tackles for loss (second in school history)
- 2021: Led FBS with 17.5 sacks (third in school history)
- 2021: Five-time SEC Defensive Player of the Week
- 2021: Cotton Bowl Defensive MVP
Scouting Report: Strengths
- Amazing athlete with an elite combination of speed and strength. Generates outstanding power for his size as a bull-rusher and drives offensive linemen backward. Has a number of nice countermoves off the bull rush.
- His spin is his best move, tight and quick to the point that blockers don’t have time to react to it. His closing burst is outstanding.
- Shows toughness to get under the pads of tackles to bull them, club them upfield to get the inside lane, or fight through blocks for secondary rush when the passer steps up.
- Elite as a run defender can destroy double-teams on the way to blowing up blocks and taking the runner down for a loss
- His fluidity and speed allow him to cover a lot of ground when dropping back into zone, and Anderson is capable of turning and running with tight ends.
- Accelerates rapidly and has a great feel for angles. Anderson isn’t huge, but he packs a pop.
- Gap-disciplined, and will always follow his assignments. Is a student of the game and knows how to avoid chip blocks on the way to the passer
- He has value as an inside blitzer as well, showing the initial burst to shoot through gaps and disrupt the backfield.
- Has the kind of turn-and-run fluidity to be used in man coverage as well, able to run with tight ends and running backs.
- He’s explosive off the line of scrimmage, showing the quickness that sets blockers back on their heels.
- In the little time he's been used in coverage he's looked surprisingly accomplished for an edge defender. Able to mirror tight ends and backs out of the backfield.
- Super strong lower body to dominate the run game and great speed around the edge to pass rush pressure
- Edge-to-edge defender who plays the full sixty minutes. High character player with excellent football IQ
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
- May struggle at the point of attack in the run game unless he adds bulk, potentially risking his movement skills in the pass rush.
- Could do with adding a wider array of pass-rushing skills - he's gotten away with athletic skills in college and won't be able to so at the next level
- Sometimes plays too high when trying to set the edge and may be taken out by bigger NFL OTs
- His speed is excellent not elite - not quite at the Von Miller level - but not far off
- Doesn’t always play with a physical edge. Anderson too often wants to run around the edge and has displayed trouble disengaging when an offensive lineman can get into his frame
Player ComparisonVon Miller
Scouting Report: SummaryWill Anderson Jr. is no doubt an elite edge prospect. He's a very rare prospect in having huge athletic talents - is super strong for his size and has dynamic quickness combined with outstanding technique and a non-stop motor. We really struggled in finding any serious negatives to his game. It's very likely his impressive college production as a pass rusher to carry over into the pro game and we see him as a first-year pro bowler.
Expect Anderson to be taken in the first three picks in the 2023 NFL Draft - anything lower would be a travesty.
Will Anderson Jr. percentiles vs other Linebacker's (NFL Combine historically - higher value represents better perfomance)
How other scouting services rate Will Anderson Jr. (Overall Rank)
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