NFL Draft Profile: Will Anderson Jr.

As the NFL's annual free agency frenzy comes to a close, it's time for teams to look forward to the year's best and last chance to improve their rosters: the NFL Draft. As April 27th approaches, we'll be looking at the prospects most likely to transform a franchise's fortunes.

The Player: Will Anderson Jr., Edge Rusher

The Alabama Crimson Tide have produced no shortage of stars on defense under head coach Nick Saban. Still, few have compiled the resume of edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. Over 41 appearances, the two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year tallied a staggering 34.5 sacks and 58.5 tackles for loss, including 17.5 sacks and 31.0 tackles for loss in 2021. He also has a College Football National Championship to his name, won in his freshman year.

The Tools:

Anderson has adequate size (6' 3 1/2" and 253 lbs) and length (33 7/8" arms), and his 4.60 40 yard-dash at the NFL Combine indicates he has the athleticism necessary to turn the corner on NFL tackles; his pro day should eventually reveal just how unique a specimen he truly is. It's been a long time since Alabama has produced a credible NFL edge rusher, but he should break the streak.

The Verdict:

Anderson has the frame and proven success to be a quality starter on the edge as a linebacker and should be one of the first defensive players drafted. It generally takes a monstrous skillset to achieve superstardom as a traditional defensive end, so until his pro day, it will be difficult to ascertain just how high Anderson's ceiling truly is. His production at college football's highest level is second to none, but it remains to be seen if his athleticism will be. 

Photo Credit: © Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports