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Alabama in the Pros

NFL Draft analyst predicts Will Anderson on All-Rookie Defensive Team

Texans rookie DE Will Anderson Jr. (#51) going through drills at mandatory minicamp.
Thomas Shea - USA Today Sports

He became the No. 3 overall pick to the Houston Texans in the NFL Draft on April 27, but how good can Will Anderson be as a rookie in the National Football League?

RELATED: Former NFL legend J.J. Watt heaps praise on Texans’ rookie LB Will Anderson Jr.

Anderson has transitioned from outside linebacker to defensive end for the Texans. He played with his hand in the ground some during his three-year career at the University of Alabama. The native Georgian recorded 34.5 sacks for his career, including 17.5 in 2021 as he became a Heisman finalist that year. He totaled ten sacks in 2022 despite facing double teams throughout the year.

Chad Reuter, an NFL Draft analyst for NFL.com, predicts Anderson to make the All-Rookie Defensive Team.

The 6-foot-3, 253-pounder could be the next superstar. J.J. Watt, a Texans legend, called Anderson a ‘phenomenal talent.’

RELATED: Will Anderson continues looking impressive in Texans’ offseason workouts

DeMeco Ryans cannot wait to see what he can produce in Anderson as a first-year head coach. A former five-star, Anderson earned a grade of 7.02 during his draft process — meaning he is a “Pro Bowl talent.” He assisted Alabama’s defense to a College Football Playoff National Championship as a freshman in 2020. Anderson totaled 52 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, eight quarterback hurries, and a forced fumble. He took home the Shaun Alexander-FWAA Freshman of the Year honor. 

As a sophomore, he guided the Crimson Tide’s defense to a second Southeastern Conference Championship and a berth in the CFP National Championship Game. Last year, Anderson pushed the Tide to an 11-win season — including a 45-20 victory over Kansas State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. He is the lone two-time first-team Unanimous All-American in Alabama history.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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