Troy Anderson | Montana State 6’3 ½” 243 lbs. | 4/3/1999 (Age 23)
Troy Anderson was drafted with the 26th pick of the second round by the Atlanta Falcons, becoming the third linebacker and the 58th overall player selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Anderson was a true two-way player for FCS-level Montana State University. The native Montanan started games at running back, quarterback, and both inside and outside linebacker in his four seasons as a Bobcat; moreover, he earned all-conference honors at all four! With only one full season as a full-time off-ball linebacker, Anderson’s instincts at the position are underdeveloped, but the former high-school valedictorian and Walter V. Campbell Trophy finalist has the smarts to learn any position. He collected 150 tackles and 3.0 QB sacks in 15 games in 2021.
Anderson has work to do to become an NFL starter, but he has shown he can do almost anything and brings unsurpassed athleticism to the position in Atlanta. Big Sky Conference competition could expose no weaknesses in his game.
At 6’ 3 ½” 243 lbs., Anderson posted ridiculous numbers in athletic testing: a 40-yard dash time of 4.42 seconds, a three-cone time of 6.77 seconds, and a 10’ 8” broad jump. With a Relative Athletic Score of 10 out of 10, Walker led a strong class of potential NFL-caliber linebackers.
Rapid Reaction to Draft Capital: Great
Rapid Reaction to Landing Spot: Great
Walker was selected with the 58th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons.
Troy Anderson was the only off-ball linebacker selected in the second round of the 2022 NFL draft. For this non-premium position in NFL terms, #58 represents a great relative investment of draft capital.
Anderson joins a thin LB corps in Atlanta and a group of players that have struggled in the NFL. Deion Jones was once considered a rising star, but 2022 is likely his last chance to avoid the fate of an NFL journeyman. The other starter is likely Rashaan Evans, a former first-rounder that couldn’t earn a second contract in Tennessee. The presumptive third linebacker, Mykal Walker, hasn’t gained any traction. Anderson might not seem ready to overtake any of them this summer. Besides, the Falcons’ 2021 second-rounder, safety Richie Grant, couldn’t earn a significant role as a rookie. Anderson, however, has succeeded at everything he’s tried and is a far superior athlete to any of his aforementioned teammates.
Anderson can likely be left on waiver wires in typical seasonal leagues but merits consideration in dynasty gamers’ rookie drafts. Given the depth of edge defenders and uncertainty in offensive players, scoring and settings will strongly influence Anderson’s correct position on a fantasy gamer’s draft list. He could go in the early fourth round in IDP leagues in tackle-heavy formats. Several third-rounders have greater name recognition as FBS school alumni; however, Anderson is alone in a tier ahead of them among off-ball linebackers due to draft capital and landing spot. LB2 feels like a lofty projection as Anderson’s upside, but it’s a risk worth taking at a position where team context matters greatly.
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