The Houston Texans' move to jump up to number three in the draft was a risky move. They gave up the 12th and 33rd picks of the draft, as well as their first and third-round selections in the 2024 NFL Draft. Was it too much? Hard to say right now, but if Anderson Jr. turns out to be the next great NFL pass rusher they hope, then the deal was worth it.
One might say the team gave up their opportunity to possibly land the best wide receiver in next year's class, Marvin Harrison Jr., but the Texans are clearly planning for the present and not worrying about what could be in the future. This deal will go down in history as one of the biggest draft day trades in history, regardless of how it all turns out.
The scouting report on Anderson Jr. is an impressive one and Lance Zierlein from NFL.com compares him to DeMarcus Ware. If that's the player the Texans are getting, then perhaps you could say the trade was worth it but then again, we'll have to wait and see what kind of player they could have had with those picks they gave up.
Where does Will Anderson Jr. come from?
Anderson attended Dutchtown High School in Hampton, Georgia, and has a senior, recorded 22 sacks. He was one of the top high school recruits coming out of Georgia, and has a five-star player, according to 247 Sports.
After being highly recruited, he elected to attend the University of Alabama, where he would begin a three-year career of dominance. As a freshman starter on the Crimson Tide defensive line, he logged 646 snaps, recording 52 tackles, with seven sacks. He added 60 total quarterback pressures as well. He was named to the SEC All-Freshman team.
As a sophomore, he would continue his dominance. He played 876 snaps, adding an eye-popping 81 pressures with 17.5 sacks. Anderson won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the NCAA's top defender. He also garnered All-American, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and first-team All-SEC honors. The accolades didn't stop there. He also finished fifth in Heisman voting, which is rare for a defensive player.
During Anderson's junior and final season with Alabama, it was just another typical season for the superstar defensive player. He added another 14 sacks and 59 quarterback pressures to his impressive collegiate resume. He would add another Bronko Nagurski award, becoming only the second player in the award's history to win it twice. He also added another season of All-American, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and All-SEC honors. Additionally, he added the Lott IMPACT trophy, the Chuck Bednarik and Rotary Lombardi awards.
What does Will Anderson bring to the Houston Texans' defense?
Anderson's impact should be felt immediately. He is widely considered one of the best prospects on the defensive side of the ball in a while and is about as close to a can't-miss pick as you can get. If you check out his scouting report on NFL.com, you'll find the following quote as well.
"“Power Five players with traits who get sacks in college are going to get sacks in the pros. Anderson is way more likely to succeed than any of these quarterbacks (in the draft). It’s not even close.”"- Executive for NFC team
If the Texans get the player that everyone is expecting, the Texans' defense will get an immediate jolt of juice. A superstar pass rusher is something this team was missing a season ago. Only the aging Jerry Hughes recorded more than five sacks in 2022, with nine. As a team, the Texans' recorded only 39 sacks, tied for 18th best in the league.
Adding Anderson to the mix and Sheldon Rankins in the middle to eat up double teams, the front four of the Texans suddenly look impressive and imposing. Getting pressure and sacks on the opposing team's quarterback is the fastest way to disrupt any offense. Coach Ryans and this staff understand what they are up against the AFC. It's a who's who list of quarterbacks top to bottom.
With the free agent additions and Anderson Jr., the Texans' defense will look very different in 2023 and could be one of the best in the AFC South.