Report from NFL Scouting Services' Dave-Te' Thomas:
Henry Anderson is a versatile has started each of the last 35 games he played in, but was sorely missed for a six-game stretch in 2013 after he suffered a knee injury because of a low block in the second week’s action vs. Army. He managed just 19 tackles last season, but in two campaigns prior, he posted 60 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 13.0 stops-for-loss.
The fifth-year senior lined up at weak-side defensive end in 2014, but while some scouts project him for a move inside in a 4-3 scheme in the NFL, his balance and speed appear to be a perfect fit to play the five-technique. Lining up at that spot, the All-Pac 12 Conference selection led the Cardinal with 8.5 sacks and 15.0 stops-for-loss in 2014, as he also had nine QB pressures and finished fourth on the squad with a career-high 65 tackles.
Anderson is physical enough to control one gap vs. the run while taking on either a guard or a tackle. He is quick off of the ball and is able to penetrate gaps between linemen and disrupt plays in the backfield. As opposed to stacking and shedding offensive linemen, he has the escape skills and hand usage to get past the blocker to one side or another, evident by his 8.5 sacks this season, he is able to loop or "stunt" while rushing the passer.
Prior to the 2014 campaign, while he has good initial quickness, Anderson did not consistently explode off the snap, but the 2013 surgery helped ease pain and stiffness in the leg, making him much more mobile getting into the back-field. He uses his hands with force to engage and shed blocks, and is forceful when taking on multiple blockers, doing a nice job of holding hold his ground, showing improvement in driving through with his hips when coming off the ball and taking on a blocker, generating a strong power base.
At 6-6, there are times when Anderson can get a little top heavy, but he has learned to use that size to be more dominant at the point of attack. He is also a solid tackler with adequate short-area change-of-direction skills. As a pass rusher he will get his hands up and try and use his frame to bat down some passes. He has the valid quickness to close down the backside and the strength to control and split double teams.
The Cardinal can explode off the edge and get into backfield to push the pocket and plays with good leverage. He has the ability to locate the ball once he gets free from his initial blocker. He is better at the line of scrimmage than when on the move in attempts to locate the ball in the second level.
Anderson might not have the foot speed and burst to generate long distance chases, but he can fire off the edge to slip past a slower offensive tackle. He needs to be more active with his hands fending off low blocks, as that failure led to his 2013 knee issues. He plays with leverage, doing a nice job of dropping his shoulder and turn the corner, as for a player of his size, he has a decent change of direction agility and shows good second effort getting back to the action when he out-runs the ball.
The thing the coaching staff cites is Anderson’s willingness to do the little extras to get better and has no problems taking plays from the chalkboard to the playing field. He shows impressive football instincts and plays with a high motor, demonstrating the functional initial burst that will surprise the lethargic lineman. He has above average playing strength for his position, showing the leg drive and strong rip-&-swim moves in one-on-one combat (must keep them active fending double teams).
Even at 6-6, Anderson can sink and run the horn to flush the quarterback out of the pocket, as he will usually stay active until the whistle. With his big hands and long arms, he can shed and pursue, crashing into ball carriers with arms extended to wrap and secure. When he plays at a low pad level, he is quick to get his hands into the blocker’s chest, but he needs to be quicker using his hands to escape from the low blocks.
When he keeps his hands inside the frame, Anderson can deliver a solid hand slap, coupled with a swim move to shed and close on the passer. Some teams will consider him as a potential defensive tackle candidate for a 4-3 base defense, but others that think he can play nose guard will not benefit from his assets, as one of his deficiencies is that he struggles to sink his weight and keep his pads down, causing problems for him protecting his feet vs. low blocks.
Anderson is a physical player, but there are times when he will spend too much time trying to overpower the blocker when he should be slipping off the block to make plays in pursuit. He has good lateral agility, but when he plays too tall in his stance, he takes time redirecting when trying to close on the quarterback.
Henry Anderson NFL Scouting Combine measurables
6-6/294 (5.03 forty)
33 1/2-inch arm length
9 3/4-inch hands
30-inch vertical jump
111-inch broad jump
7.20 3 cone drill
4.19 20 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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