I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can.
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Henry Anderson, DE, Stanford - 6'6, 294 - RS Senior - 4.97 40
If you cannot teach size, guys like Anderson who stand above the others and have a wingspan and arm length that doesn't quit will always have an advantage over the field. Then, if they can add a few more advantages - like being one of those Stanford graduates that always seem to get the benefit of the doubt in personnel departments - and a work rate and motor score that is at maximum levels, then you can see how it is easier to look at the positives than the negatives for a player who will turn 24 years old in the 1st week of training camp.
Anderson spent 5 years at Stanford and over the course of his time was able to be a part of a number of solid Stanford defenses, showing the ability to play anywhere from "0-5" and everywhere in between. This means that he can line up on the nose or out at defensive end and that positional versatility is just another thing to put on his ledger. To examine this player, Utah, Notre Dame, and Oregon State were used.
Anderson wears #91 for the Cardinal.
What I liked: Anderson is a huge man that towers over the rest of the Stanford line and has the ability to move pretty well. He gets a nice jump off most snaps and can penetrate as he gets a shoulder in the gap and then works past many 1-on-1 situations. He gets to where he is going with plenty of battle and a disposition that says he will be a handful for 60 minutes. He is able to get plays behind the line of scrimmage, but most importantly for the Dallas system, he keeps battling through the end of a play, regardless of his success in that given situation. At first, I was expecting a strong-side DE candidate, and he is, but he can be so much more as he literally lined up at every defensive spot inside and on the edge in the games that I looked at. He is the definition of football strong as his man seems to always be straining to deal with him. He is better inside where he can isolate against a guard or center and really use his wingspan to put them in a bind. The ability to have versatile players who can play inside or outside on a defensive line in early or passing downs is very appealing. Anderson offers that.
What I did not like: Now, size and work-rate aside, he has limitations. I would suggest that he has some flexibility issues as he often stumbles in his pursuit and looks a bit awkward as he lunges at a play and as you can see above, sometimes even crawls to his man. Whatever works. He is not what you would consider to be a natural pass rusher who can explode with moves around a corner. Rather, he produces from staying alive on plays and cleaning up messes. Some teams are targeting guys who have gifted repertoires of moves and options. Anderson does not, but he still gets it done. Sometimes he seems to be playing too many snaps as he looks to be exhausted late in a few games. But, at the next level, the idea is to keep snap counts down and motor high. He fits.
Summary: As you go through a draft, you are looking for prospects who have a skill set and a work rate that are both 10 of 10. But, those players go at the top. Then, you look for players who are one or the other and work your way down through the proceeding rounds. Anderson is not a 10 with the fluidity of his athleticism, but he is a 10 on the full effort and abandon when it comes to trying to blow up a play. He also checks all the boxes for the make-up and as we mentioned before, versatility of position. That covers for injuries and so forth if you have a guy to plug in all sorts of spots. You don't want to over-draft this type of player, because it would be difficult to say he has a real high ceiling, but he also appears to have a real high floor. A solid starter that might be right in Round 2 or 3. For sure a Top 100 prospect.
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