The Fall and Rise of Henry Anderson

A popular mantra around fans of the draft is the 90% rule. The rule is simple: If you think you can get a player that is 90% as talented in a later round, take the better value later. In the 2015 class, there were two very good 5-Tech prospects selected in the top 15 picks,  Leonard Williams and Arik Armstead. Jump ahead 78 picks later and the Indianapolis Colts selected a player that is more than just 90% as good as good as those two: Henry Anderson. Perhaps because he fits primarily in a 3-4 defense, or perhaps because he didn’t score well in the explosion drills at the Combine, Anderson fell all the way to the 93rd pick of the draft. Fortunately for the Colts, Anderson is a perfect marriage of need and BPA, allowing them to get the talented 5-Tech they missed out on in the first round.

With the free agency losses of Corey Redding and Ricky Jean-Francois, the Colts lost two of their best Defensive Lineman. In particular, Redding will be missed, as he was the only 5-Tech on the roster that was an effective pass rusher. Knowing this needed to be addressed in the draft, fans waited as the Colts passed on talented Lineman in the first and second rounds to be rewarded with a potential steal of the draft.

Henry Anderson has a great frame for playing 5-Tech with the Colts, and he is versatile enough to be able to slide inside to 3-Tech on passing downs. One of the first things you notice about Henry Anderson is how hard he plays. Everything is full speed and you rarely see him taking plays off. He is always active and moving towards the ball, even when it is moving away from him, frequently ending with him making a tackle. Anderson has strong hands and he is very effective creating separation with them, then ripping through the blocker.

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Anderson holds up very well versus the run, frequently creating stops in the backfield. In addition to his strong hands and effective leverage, Anderson is very good attacking down the line when the ball is run into a different gap, showing the quickness to get to the ball carrier and the length to drag them down.  These plays are a good example of the kind of effort Anderson consistently brings, and they pop up all the time.

Henry 1

As a pass rusher, Anderson has good quickness and hand usage to penetrate into the pocket and causing disruption. As they say, disruption is production, and Henry Anderson just disrupts everything. Even when he doesn’t get the sack, Anderson is causing he Quarterback to hurry his pass and unsettles his rhythm and his mechanics. In this play, he is able to split the Lineman and cause the Quarterback to change his mechanics on a very quick pass.

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No one will confuse Anderson for an Edge rusher, but he does show surprising agility, and short area quickness. This shows up in his Combine numbers. Anderson had tremendous athletic scores, particularly in the agility drills. In overall athleticism, Anderson performed very well, ranking as the 13th highest SPARQ DL, far ahead of athletic players like Arik Armstead, Carl Davis, and Leonard Williams.

Henry spider

Anderson also shows off impressive hand usage as a pass rusher as well, with the ability to swipe away the hands of a Lineman. Here is where he will win in the NFL, and what gives so much reason to love this draft pick. Anderson is able to Combine his blue chip level agility and technically sound pass rush moves, and combine them with his non-stop motor to create havoc in the passing game.

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With this selection, the 90% rule wins again. While he doesn’t have the high ceiling of Arik Armstead, he is has a higher floor and he is a better scheme fit than Malcom Brown. In the end, this pick was perfect, Anderson is exactly the kind of Defensive Lineman the Colts were looking for. Because of his fall, Henry Anderson has become a member of the Indianapolis Colts, and now Colts fans get to enjoy his rise.

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Did you think I’d forget?

henry handsome

Handsome Rating®: 5/10

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