Will Anderson | Alabama 6’3½” 253 lbs. | 09/02/2001 (21)
Will Anderson was drafted by the Houston Texans, becoming the first Edge Rusher and third overall player selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Will Anderson dominated as soon as he stepped on the field at Alabama. The only player in the draft who can somewhat rival Jalen Carter’s physical dominance, Anderson finished his freshmen season with a National Championship and SEC All-Freshman honors after starting all 13 games and compiling 52 tackles, 10.5 TFLs, and seven sacks. The following season he won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s top defender and earned All-American, SEC DPOY, and first-team All-SEC honors. He finished that historic season with 101 tackles and led the FBS with 34.5 TFLs and 17.5 sacks in 15 starts.
Last season, Anderson recorded 51 tackles, 17 TFLs, and 10 sacks with one INT in 13 starts. He again won the Nagurski Trophy and was voted an All-American and SEC DPOY again. Will Anderson has perennial pro-bowl potential.
Anderson is well-built with long arms for his 6’3½” frame. He has the twitchy get-off and first-step that is desired of elite pass rushers. He possesses the skills to consistently win on the edge or create rushing paths with inside moves. Even when he’s engaged and being blocked, he has the awareness and footwork needed to drive into the pocket and muddy up things. His traits are elite and his production is off the charts.
Will Anderson ran a 4.60 flat 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 1.61-second 10-yard split. This is a solid time for his size at 253 lbs. He chose to opt out of the other athletic tests and instead participated in positional drills. The film answers any questions an analytics enthusiasts might have.
Rapid Reaction to Draft Capital: Excellent
Rapid Reaction to Landing Spot: Good
Anderson was selected with the third overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans.
Will Anderson goes third overall and lands in Houston after a massive trade by the Texans. Many in social media are crucifying the Texans for this move, but they are forgetting that Will Anderson is the most productive player in this draft, and arguably the most physically dominant player in this draft (rivaling Jalen Carter). Had Houston traded Cleveland’s 2024 1st, which they own from the Deshaun Watson trade, then your author would have loved the trade. However, trading their own 2024 1st, which looks like a top-6 pick, was not a great move.
Still, Will Anderson is the only can’t-miss prospect in this draft who will become a perennial pro bowler. He has high character and motivation, so he does not come with Jalen Carter’s red flags. He even has a competent young running mate at pass rusher already in place across from him in Jonathan Greenard. Anderson also joins former Crimson Tide teammate Christian Harris. New head coach Demeco Ryans has proven to be an excellent defensive coordinator, so the future of the defense looks bright.
Anderson is the DE1 of the class with his superior ability, traits, and production. He is a cornerstone player in dynasty IDP leagues and has the upside to become a top-three EDGE in the near future. Expect to see him drafted early in the late-first to early-second round of dynasty rookie drafts.
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