There are a lot of words that could describe former Alabama edge defender Ryan Anderson. Leader, consistent, and ferocious are only a few of those words. The point is that he’s the type of player that any team would be lucky to have play for their franchise. Fortunately for the Washington Redskins, they were the team that was able to secure his services.
A couple of weeks ago, Anderson was selected by the Redskins in the second-round (No. 49 overall) of the NFL Draft. With this selection, 2017 marked the fifth time that the Redskins have selected a pair of teammates out of Alabama — the other years being 1941, 1948, 1951 and 1962.
In this year’s case, Anderson will now continue to play alongside former Tide defensive lineman Johnathan Allen. These two will be joining forces to help rebuilt a Redskins defense that ranked 28th overall last season.
At 6’2 53 pounds, Anderson may be undersized for the position, but he is another solid pass-rusher who should contribute immediately to the defense. Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan — who moved from defensive end to linebacker — transitioned well and led the team in sacks with 11.
However, production from the other linebackers have been declining. Preston Smith went from having eight sacks as a rookie to having 4.5 last season. Per Washington CBS local, Junior Galette had 22 sacks total in 2013 and 2014, but has missed the last two years with torn two different Achilles injuries.
The addition of Anderson will not only add another force on the edge, but it’ll help make life easier on the defensive line. On the football field, Anderson carries the personality of a lion, and that hunger drives him to constantly show that he is the king of the jungle.
Anderson was known as one of the vocal leaders for Alabama’s defense the last couple of years, and he’ll be able to bring that “see him, eat him” mentality to the Redskins defense. Not only can he rush the passer, but he’s outstanding covering the flats. He also does well when covering tight ends or running backs out of the backfield.
He finished the 2016 season with 61 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception — which he returned for a touchdown.
Anderson’s ability to set the tone in every game is something that Redskins head coach Jay Gruden will appreciate having. Overall, the team and front office alike should be happy with Anderson’s supreme leadership skills.
Per Washington CBS local, Anderson has set down major goals. Only the most confident of men are willing to throw down a statement like this before they’ve even put the pads on yet: “I’m going to the best outside linebacker in the game”. Based off his skill-set and willingness to succeed, there should be little doubt that he at least has a chance of achieving that goal.
Michael Cannady is a contributor for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at: @mike_can21