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Each year there are hundreds of stories being told during the planning and anticipation of the NFL Draft; the 2017 Draft is no different. Today we will be looking at a scouting report for senior outside linebacker Ryan Anderson, Alabama Crimson Tide.

LB-Ryan Anderson, Alabama  6’2” 253 lbs.

Alabama football has a deep tradition and always seems to be sending defenders to the NFL that make an impact. Although, his teammate Tim Williams gets listed higher by most draft talent evaluators, Anderson seemed to be more consistent with game changing plays: eight and a half sacks along with three forced fumbles in 2016. Since I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, let’s break down what I saw in the six games I reviewed of the senior play maker: 2016 contests versus Arkansas, Clemson, Washington, and USC along with 2015 games against Michigan State, and Tennessee. Most of these game videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. Here are my thoughts:

Cons: His frame is pretty maxed out, so his time anchoring using a three or four point stance are behind him at the next level. Most offensive tackles will have serious reach and weight advantages that will reduce his effectiveness to anchor the line to force the play back inside. Anderson has stiff hips that do not allow him to change directions quickly and his footwork is a bit slow for a man his size. The defender takes some bad angles and can over pursue the quarterback in the pocket, making it easier for the signal caller to step up and avoid him altogether. He did not drop back into coverage very often and did not look very fluid when doing so. In a 3-4 defense, the outside backers must be able to get to their zones quickly or keep up with athletic tight ends at the very least.

Pros: Anderson has a quick first step and uses various pass rushing techniques to get around or through defenders: spins, swims, or dips and rips. He thrusts his arms out to keep blockers off his body and continues to punch with his fists to maintain some distance. On the weaker technical tackles, the backer gets under the shoulder pads and guides them back into the quarterback. This defender can come from the outside or inside to rush the passer. Anderson can get out into the flats in a hurry as he swatted a Washington receiver out-of-the-way while intercepting the ball for a 26 yard touchdown in the college semi-final game. The former Crimson Tide defender has a good motor, active hands that like to strip the pigskin away, and is a solid open field tackler. He works down the line of scrimmage fighting his way to the ball carrier.

Overall impressions: Anderson should be converted to a SLB in a 4-3 or an outside backer in a 3-4, which will be a major change for him. He will need an inventive defensive coordinator that will put him in winning situations for him be impactful in IDP leagues. While I love his college play, I don’t see him putting up the tackle numbers to justify being anything more than a LB3 in tackle heavy scoring leagues. However in sack heavy scoring, Anderson could emerge as a sackable LB2 commodity.

Thanks for reading. I will continue to discuss my scouting reports with you throughout the next several months, so keep checking the site for more content. Please check out my other content as well. You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley.

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