Will Anderson Jr. Draft Profile and Scouting Report



Will Anderson Jr. Scouting Report: Alabama Crimson Tide, Linebacker, #31



2023 NFL Draft Measurements

6’4″ / 243 lbs.

Will Anderson Jr. 40-Time – 4.55-4.60 range



Will Anderson Jr. Draft Profile

Anderson Jr. is a former 5-star recruit out of Dutchtown High School in Hampton, Georgia. According to 247sports, Anderson was the best prospect coming out of the state of Georgia in the 2020 recruiting class. Some notable players he was ranked above include Myles Murphy, Broderick Jones, Brian Branch, and Jahmyr Gibbs. He was also the best weakside defensive end in the nation. In what should be no surprise to anyone, Anderson Jr. had a plethora of Division I offers while at Dutchtown. By the time his high school career ended, he had 39 offers. After visiting only Georgia Tech and Alabama, he quickly decided that he wanted to play for Nick Saban.

He has been elite for Alabama since he first stepped foot on the field. According to ESPN, as a true freshman, he had 33 solo tackles, 7 sacks, and a forced fumble. During the 2021 season, Anderson Jr. was arguably the most polished pass rusher in the nation. He had 57 solo tackles, 17.5 sacks, and 2 pass deflections. Finally, in his final season with Alabama, he had 24 solo tackles, 10 sacks, 1 interception, and a pass deflection. After being this productive for one of the best college football programs, it is safe to say he is an elite talent.


Will Anderson Jr. Strengths


Pass Rush

Over the past few seasons, Anderson Jr. has been one of the nation’s best pass rushers. He has a very quick first step which allows him to gain leverage immediately after the snap. It also allows him to get past the tackle before they get to their set point. Anderson Jr. is also good at effectively running the arc. This is when the pass rusher gets about 7-8 yards deep in the backfield often forcing the QB up in the pocket. He can then use his violent hands to disengage from the block and make a play on the QB. I am also impressed with his ability to fight away an offensive lineman’s hands. This is due to his hands being very active during his rush which forces the lineman to consistently lose leverage. It also stops them from getting their hands in the right position to neutralize Anderson Jr.

Although he is good at bending the edge and making a play on the QB from the outside of the line, he is also proficient at performing stunts and twists. When lined up at the line, Anderson Jr. does a good job of quickly working his way toward the B gap. This often confuses offensive linemen and gives Anderson the competitive edge to shed the block and sack the QB.


First Step

As I briefly mentioned earlier, Anderson Jr. has an elite first step off the snap. When lined up in a 3-point stance, he does a very good job of exploding forward and being the first one to engage in contact. He can also take off toward the inside of the line to perform stunts and knock the interior offensive lineman off balance. In a 2-point stance, he shows amazing initial quickness to run the arc and beat the opposing lineman. From there, he shows off his incredible body lean to close out and apply pressure on the QB.


Sack Monster

Will Anderson Jr. has been one of the most productive EDGE rushers in the nation since he arrived in Tuscaloosa. In his career for Alabama, Anderson has recorded 24.5 sacks in just 3 seasons. During the 2021 season, he was the only player who had more sacks than Aidan Hutchinson. He is able to record this many sacks because of his high motor and agility through traffic. His high motor allows him to get that first step off and quickly bend the edge. Anderson’s agility allows him to work back inside and make a play on the QB in congested areas.


Will Anderson Jr. Weaknesses


Size/Position-Specific Role

Anderson Jr. is the most polished prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft class. With that being said, there are not many weaknesses to his game. The only concern that I have is his slightly below-average size and strength. When in the phone booth, he needs to work on his ability to shed blocks by using his strength. He also does not have a very powerful punch that forces the offensive lineman to drop the anchor. His lack of size also hinders his scheme versatility where he will likely only fit as a 3-4 weakside linebacker.


Will Anderson Jr. Draft Stock

As of today, nflmockdraftdatabase has Anderson as the 2nd best prospect in the nation. Personally, I believe that Anderson is the best prospect in this draft class. His pass rush ability is unlike anybody else in the nation due to his ability to effortlessly get into the backfield. After seeing what he brings to an NFL team, I strongly believe he will not fall out of the top five.


Final Thoughts on Will Anderson Jr. Scouting Report

As I have mentioned several times throughout this article, Anderson is the best prospect in this draft class. He is the best pass rusher in the nation because he can effortlessly bend the edge and put pressure on the QB. When forcing the QB up in the pocket, he does a good job of cutting back to the inside. This allows him to sack the QB or force them outside of the pocket. Although he is a polished pass rusher, he is also effective against the run. He is good at clogging lanes at the line, not allowing the running back to gain positive yardage. The only reason why I don’t think he will be the first defender taken is because of his lack of size leading to a lack of scheme versatility.


Will Anderson Jr. Player Comparison

Will Anderson Jr. is a direct replica of Von Miller. Both of these players are explosive off the snap and play with a very high motor. They can also track down the ball carrier and make a tackle. His physicality and body lean also remind me of a more polished Kayvon Thibodeaux.


Will Anderson Jr. Scouting Report and Player Profile Analyst – Matthew Lewis