If you are not aware of Redskins’ second-round pick outside linebacker Ryan Anderson or ever seen the former Alabama Crimson Tide play, all you need to know about him is what he said about his lack of measurements in the NFL Combine. Anderson slipped to the second round in part due to his lack of numbers at the Combine. He ran a 4.78 in the 40-yard dash, which justified the NFL.com’s scouting report of him.
“Relatively average athlete for the position. Lacks desired pursuit speed and closing burst as a 4-3 linebacker. Hips are a little stiff and he lacks plus range of motion. Could struggle with cover skills in space. Short arms could become an issue if asked to stack the edge against NFL tackles. Effort rusher missing desired traits found in consistent NFL pass rushers. His edge rush is more elongated and gradual than tight and sharp. Gets punched by tackles while shoulders are still square, causing him to flatten out as a rusher.”
When asked about the unimpressive outing at the Combine and any scouting report that knocks his lack of athleticism, Anderson’s reply was golden and something that will be tunes to Redskins fans’ ears.
“I pride myself on playing the game a certain way,” Anderson told ESPN 980’s Doc Walker as transcribed by Scott Allen of the Washington Post. “I’m going to do it for all the guys that ain’t workout warriors. That’s what I’m doing. I’m a guy that’s a straight football player, and that’s what I want people to understand. When I step on the field — vertical, broad jump, my 40, [combine drills] got nothing to do with kicking the man’s [butt] in front of you. That’s why I play this game. I play this game because it’s pure and I love the game. That’s why I play the way I play. I want to keep the game how it is.”
Anderson’s versatility will be a welcomed addition to a Redskins defense that ranked 28th in the NFL in 2016 for the second consecutive season. One of their issues is their inconsistency to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Anderson, who led Alabama with 19 tackles for losses and nine sacks can play effectively lining up in the 4-3 and the 3-4. An NFC scout felt he would be best suited to play the SAM linebacker position in either the 4-3 or 3-4 which would allow him to display his solid pass rushing skills.
When talking to the media after being picked by the Redskins with the 49th overall pick, Anderson made it clear he was no “Combine Warrior”
“I’m not [an NFL] combine warrior; I’m not a workout warrior,” Anderson said. “I’m a football player. At the end of the day, that’s what it boils down to. It boils down to, ‘See ball, get ball. And striking the man in front of you.’ That’s what I bring to the table.”
Washington needs football players, especially a linebacker that can play opposite of Ryan Kerrigan. With disappointing projects through the years, if Anderson can be that football player and bring a much-needed toughness to the defense, he will quickly be a fan-favorite. He already is saying all the right things that will make him endearing to the Burgundy and Gold fanbase.