Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama
Ryan Anderson is a 22 year old outside linebacker/edge prospect from Alabama. 6’2” and 252 pounds, After redshirting his first year at Alabama in 2012, Anderson played in all 13 games in 2013 and had 1.5 sacks. As a sophomore in 2014, he played in all 14 games, recording 25 tackles and three sacks. As a junior in 2015, he had 37 tackles and six sacks. He returned to Alabama for his senior year in 2016, where he posted 52 tackles and eight sacks. He primarily blitzes but occasionally drops into coverage. He is expected to run a 40 yard dash in the range of 4.7-4.9.
Athleticism-wise, Anderson is an average athlete. Doesn’t possess the elite speed, but does have short area quickness and closing speed. Also doesn’t have the elite bend or loose hips you’re looking for in a first round edge rusher. Bend and Hips is a way to get under tackles The way the NFL is trending, Ryan Anderson may be a tweener with no viable role in the NFL. His work ethic will play a big role in whether he makes it as a good player. He is currently too small and seems to have maxed out his frame to play DE, but too slow to play OLB.He lacks the closing burst and pursuit range someone wants in their OLB. His 40 time will play a big role in his draft stock and where he can play.
Anderson is a versatile linebacker with a chance to play inside or outside or as an OLB/DE. Possesses a very good first step to pressure tackles’ upfield shoulder. Also has closing speed and short-area quickness to keep contain outside and crash down on inside runs. Strong tackler with excellent length and upper-body strength to wrap up ball carriers. Gets under the pads of tackles, keeps his feet churning to maintain leverage. Anderson’s skill set in the run game looks like it will translate solidly to the NFL. Short arms could be a problem if he has to stack and shed against tackles. He will be a guy who can set and hold the edge and make stops against the run.
As a pass rusher, Ryan Anderson shows positive traits, such as good effort, solid pass rushing moves, and snap anticipation.
However, these traits are outweighed by the negatives of his pass rushing. His pass rush is more slow and elongated than the tight and compact rush we see from good, consistent edge rushers. Gets punched out of rushes way too easily , allowing better technical tackles to go for his wrist and other parts of his body to impede his rush, and also causes his rush to become a lot more deliberate and slow. He does have a ton of effort, and is a high motor guy who will give his all every play. He has very active hands which allows him to beat less refined tackles. He will beat up on guys who aren’t as ready for the NFL as he is. Doesn’t get too far upfield on his rushed and knows where the QB is and how to contain him.
In coverage he is functional. He has tight hips and ankles so lining him up in man coverage probably isn’t a good idea, but in zone coverage, he anticipates throws, reads the Qb eyes and can make good plays. He has a very high football IQ, which allows him to play well in this facet of the game.
Ryan Anderson enters the NFL with some questions with his struggles disengaging at the point of attack and limited length and growth potential, but the production speaks for itself and pass rushers don’t last long on draft day. Whether or not he would be able to fit in a 4-3 defense would depend on how he is used, but he would fit best as a pass rush OLB in a 3-4 like in college.