First round NFL Draft prospect and former Alabama defensive end Will Anderson, Jr. is one of the most celebrated and decorated players in Crimson Tide history.
Anderson, Jr. was a key part of the Tide’s 2020 national title team, and two-time winner of the Bronco Nagurski Trophy for best defensive lineman in the country.
Rumored as a potential draft target for the Arizona Cardinals with the third overall pick, Anderson is a near-consensus top ten pick for Thursday’s draft.
Anderson visited the Seattle Seahawks, who hold the number five pick, recently, and opinions seem set on his value as an impact player at the next level.
NFL Coach is Skeptical
At least one defensive line coach is skeptical of Anderson’s ability, however, according to NFL reporter Bruce Feldman of The Athletic.
“I do not see a top-5 talent,” said the anonymous NFL D-line coach.
“Ignore the sack numbers. Just watch him play. I see a really smart, tough, really aware guy, plays his ass off. Not fast, not explosive.
“Of his sacks last year, three sacks were him beating the tackle, and every other one was a line game or a blitz where he was one-on-one or he waited for the quarterback to get flushed and he came off his guys and tackled him.
Less Athletic Than Chase Young?
The coach compared Anderson to Commanders defensive end Chase Young, but not in a favorable way.
“To be a top-5 guy…Chase Young was embarrassing tackles. In the Tennessee game against Darnell Wright, I didn’t notice Will Anderson that entire game. If you’re gonna go top 5, you better be wrecking games.
“I get that he’s got great character and (his) leadership skills are off the charts.
“But elite traits? What physically is elite about him? He’s effort-filled. I would be shocked if Will was a bust. But I’d also be shocked if he was an All-Pro.”
Anderson measured 6-foot-3 and 1/2 inch at the 2023 NFL Draft Combine, and has remained confident about his abilities.
“I see myself as a very versatile player who can do just about anything,” he said at the event.
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