2015 NFL Scouting Combine Watch List: Defensive Linemen (Part 2)

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Dec 7, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Stanford Cardinal defensive end Henry Anderson (91) sacks Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly (10) during the first half at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Henry Anderson, Stanford

Another PAC-12 giant, Henry Anderson is a 6’6″, 287 pound physical phenom out of Stanford. And while Anderson is not quite as big as Arik Armstead, and doesn’t have the two-sport background, he has been a much more productive player in one of college football’s best defensive units over most of the past three seasons. He is a great run defender, having logged 62 tackles and 15 tackles for loss in 2014 alone. He also is an effective pass rusher, and has recorded 17 sacks over his college career, including 8 in 2014.

That said, production can lie: he has a tendency to disappear against quality opponents like USC and Oregon and pad his stats with huge performances against teams like Utah. Just one of the strongest games in his 2014 campaign came against a quality UCLA squad. He also showed up well in the Senior Bowl practices.

In order for a large, productive player like Anderson to prove his value over the Arik Armsteads of the world, he will have to show that he has the physical tools to back up his tape, and to fit various schemes. Here’s how:

1. Bench Press/Broad Jump: In order to show NFL observers that he is ready to take on the challenge of some of the strongest athletes in all of sports, he will have to demonstrate that he is among them. With his size, he needs to show that explosive leg power and strong upper body to allow him to use it to its’ full advantage.

If he can do well in these drills, he will impress NFL coaches looking for him to potentially play either a 2-tech tackle, 3-tech tackle or a 4-tech or 5-tech end spot for their team. Anderson has good quickness and some solid fundamentals, but because of his unique body type is not a clear fit for NFL teams. Good strength measurables will help them out.

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  • 2. 40-yard Dash/Shuttle Runs: The speed and acceleration portion of the show is usually not a big deal for prospective defensive linemen. But with a very tall, long frame and proven ability to rush the passer, some teams – including the Raiders – may want to find out if Henry Anderson can be effective from the 7-technique, rushing the passer off the edge.

    While he looks on tape to be a more plodding, 2 through 5 technique lineman, if he can show up and run a sub 5.0 4o time with a good showing in the shuttle runs, teams may want to look at him as a big rush end, maybe in scenarios where they want to also be able to control the perimeter in the run game.

    3. Vertical: A tall, long interior lineman can sometimes be an attractive pick simply for his ability to leap up tall and swat down passes, as well as his value on special teams in field goal block scenarios. Former Raiders and Patriots tackle Richard Seymour, who was also 6’6″, was a stalwart on field goal blocking teams, and rejected more than his fair share of kicks during his career.

    Anderson will want to show not only a solid vertical leap in terms of net number, but also in terms of the raw numbers: how tall his hands are on the ground, and the absolute height they can reach when he leaps. This is something that can come in handy for teams in more ways than one.

    Next: Player to Watch: Corey Crawford