Dres Anderson compensated for his team’s struggles at quarterback in 2013, somehow managing to become the seventh player in school history to gain over 1,000 yards receiving (1,002 on 53 grabs with seven scores). His 2014 season was cut short when he suffered knee cartilage damage in the fourth quarter of the Southern California clash, but not before he had a reception that set up the game-winning touchdown drives with seconds left to play. The fifth-year senior then missed the final five games on the 2014 schedule.
The lanky pass catcher seems frail-looking especially with his lack of lower body development, but he runs precise routes and uses his exceptional lateral agility, balance and initial burst to elude the initial tackler when working in a crowd. He’s been utilized more on screens, crossers and simple route assignments (mostly due to the Utah QBs lacking), but gets most of his success after the catch, as he easily locates the soft areas in the zone and has an array of moves and head fakes to slip past second level defenders to generate big gains on short throws.
Prior to his 2014 knee injury, Anderson possesses excellent straight-line speed, and it is rare to see him struggle vs. the jam, as he has more than enough power and good hand usage to get a clean release off the snap. He shows above average balance and crisp cutting ability, demonstrating the agility and flexibility to make adjustments in his route without having to throttle down.
The Utah receiver has very good body control, doing a nice job of settling in the soft areas and displays the vision and burst to come back when the pocket is pressured. He is effective when used on the reverse (see 2013 Stanford and Arizona games), keeping his pads down to drive hard with his legs in attempts to break arm tackles. He is a bit of a long strider, but shows above average foot quickness in his patterns. He is fluid in his movements and has sharp stop-and-go action.
Anderson is more of an explosive speed type on deep patterns, making some scouts feel he will be best served as a deep threat, but he also sees the ball very well, showing outstanding hand/eye coordination, very good hand placement and moves well, whether left or right. He excels at making body adjustments when going up for the ball in flight.
Anderson is the type that can consistently generate the explosion needed to simply separate. He is a precise route runner who comes out of his breaks cleanly, doing a nice job of generating YAC when used on slants. For a player of his size, he gets in and out of his cuts so well, thanks to his ability to drop and sink his weight. He is shifty in the open and uses solid head and shoulder fakes to con his man on his patterns. He shows the vision and balance to come back for the ball and stay square.
Anderson does a nice job of maintaining focus on the ball in flight. Because he has the ability to suddenly run under every ball, it is due to his success in maintaining position and tracking the pigskin. He knows how to open up his hips and sink his pads in order to get to off-target throws or passes from behind him. The thing you see on film is his ability to make plays in all areas, whether fighting for the ball in the short area or to elevate and snatch the ball at its highest point.
Anderson has that raw, understated power to turn a quick slant into huge real estate. Once he gets his clean release, he is a hard to bring down in the open field, thanks to loose hip and pinpoint precision cutting back. He goes full speed at the defender, knowing that he can easily break arm tackles with his strength. He has that peripheral vision and feel for coverage to weave in and out of traffic. He can generate more than enough of a big burst, especially running the flash screen.
Anderson is very effective when asked to throw a block for a teammate in the open field. He will face up with aggression at the line of scrimmage, and always gives total effort, even when challenged by much bigger defenders. With his field vision and savvy, he could develop into a good position and pester-type who will stalk at the next level, but if he adds more bulk, he could develop into a quality second level blocker in the “Greg Jennings” mold.
Dres Anderson Scouting Combine measurables
31 5/8-inch arm length
9 3/8-inch hands
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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