LB Ryan Anderson, Alabama

6’2” – 253 lbs. – 4.80e

Redshirted in his first season, then worked into the rotation and played on special teams the following year. Saw his role expand as a sophomore and has been a starter for the past two seasons. Will usually line up as a rush linebacker in the team’s defense, which generally features three down linemen, but occasionally puts his hand in the dirt or will blitz from an  inside position. Predominantly plays on the left side of the defense. Height and bulk are adequate for a rush linebacker role but might be smaller than most teams are looking for in an even-front defensive end. Plays with technique, intelligence, and toughness. Very assignment-sound and consistent. Patient player in run support who can generate some pop on contact, extend his arms, and set the edge; more disciplined than aggressive on rushing downs. Avoids overcommitting and getting himself into trouble, generally taking good angles when flowing to the ball. Pretty reliable tackler although his radius looks average at best. Lacks elite top-end speed and burst but can generate some explosiveness in his lower body and is also sudden enough to beat offensive tackles at the line. When rushing the passer, often tries to convert speed to power but can also challenge the edge and bend back to the quarterback smoothly, albeit without an exceptional closing burst to finish. Uses subtle hand use to slap an opposing blocker’s arms away. Was able to get pretty consistent pressure rushing off the right side of the offensive line and drew some extra blocking attention. Does a good job of disrupting opposing releases out of the backfield; usually able to get a chip in before a tight end starts to get downfield. Was asked to work in coverage more often than most pass-rushers and exhibited impressive range and quick feet with adequate technique; typically was asked to make zone drops or pick up players on shallow drags rather than lining up in man coverage. Can place his hands on opponents and carry them downfield, but gives up some separation at the route stem. A very polished player with all of the mental tools teams look for a pro defender; athleticism isn’t exceptional but looks more than adequate. Experience in a pro-style defense and on special teams should help him find a role early in his pro career.

Games watched: Tennessee (’15), Arkansas (’16), Southern California (’16)

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