NFL Draft News & Analysis

2023 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Edge Will Anderson Jr., Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) and Louisiana Monroe Warhawks quarterback Chandler Rogers (6) during the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we’re more than halfway through the 2022 college football season, it’s time to start taking a closer look at some of the top prospects in the 2023 NFL draft class.

Here’s a look at the best edge defender in the country, Alabama‘s Will Anderson Jr.

Stat to know: Anderson has produced 44 QB pressures this season, the second-most among FBS edge defenders through Week 10. He has 11 sacks, eight hits and 25 hurries.

NFL role: The NFL team that drafts Anderson will get an immediate impact player on defense. He is as physically gifted as they come and may have even been the first overall pick in last year’s draft had he been eligible to declare.

His size-and-speed combination is so tough to match up against on the edge. You’ll even see Anderson line up at linebacker from time to time, given his versatility and ability to wreak havoc anywhere on the field.

Highest-graded game: WEEK 8 VS. MISSISSIPPI STATE (89.8)

After surrendering 52 points to Tennessee the week prior, Alabama’s defense came out on a mission the following week against the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Anderson racked up nine total pressures, including a sack. He also posted a pass-rush win rate of 24.1%, his highest of the 2022 season at that point. Mississippi State simply could not block Anderson in this game. Even when they double-teamed him, he still managed to get pressure.

Lowest-graded game: WEEK 2 VS. TEXAS (56.6)

This was not Anderson's prettiest game by any measure. For starters, he was penalized four times and missed a career-high four tackles.

What he does well: Anderson gets to the quarterback. And given the current state of the pass-dominated NFL, franchises have got to be able to pressure the quarterback. The Bama edge defender does this better than almost anybody.

He is already second on the list of Alabama’s all-time sack leaders, and we’re not even through his third season. After leading the country in pressures as a true sophomore, Anderson has 44 so far this season as the focal point of the Bama defense.

What he needs to improve: Anderson has somewhat struggled with penalties this year, as he already has six on the season. We'd also love to see him clean up his tackling: Over the last three seasons, he ranks 219th among 305 qualifying edge rushers in missed tackle percentage (16.3%).

Best NFL traits: Quickness, pass-rushing instincts, athleticism, strength.

Best NFL fits: Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers.

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