In a pass-rush class with a clear leader, are you looking for a potential riser ahead of the college football season? Look no further than Georgia outside linebacker Adam Anderson, who can be a star in the 2022 NFL Draft class. As a result of his relative inexperience, Anderson isn’t a household name right now. However, Anderson’s scouting report indicates that he could be the ultimate riser during the next eight months.
Adam Anderson NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Outside Linebacker
- School: Georgia
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 6’5″
- Weight: 230 pounds
Adam Anderson Scouting Report
Pass rushers are at a premium. That’s just a fact. As the NFL continues to evolve as a passing league, finding players that can impact the quarterback is increasingly essential. There are several established prospects in this upcoming class, led by college football superstar Kayvon Thibodeaux.
Anderson’s NFL Draft scouting report reveals some exciting potential for him to challenge the top of that class.
Few players in college football are as exciting to watch as the Georgia OLB. The pass rusher has an insane athletic profile that ensures he pops off the screen whenever he lines up for the Bulldogs.
His game starts with speed. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him run a 4.40 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. It’s absurd speed that very few offensive linemen can compete against.
Speed isn’t everything, of course. However, Anderson also explodes off the line like a bullet out of a gun. The vertical jump is thought of as a test of raw explosion, and there is an expectation that Anderson will propel his 6’5″, 230-pound frame over 40 inches.
Athleticism, pass-rush tools, and versatility
Combine the speed, explosion, and lateral agility to change direction at will, and you have a pass rusher who is practically unstoppable based on pure athletic ability. I’ve gotten so carried away with the athletic upside that I forgot to mention that Anderson also has exceptional length (34-inch arms), according to Dane Brugler of The Athletic.
Athleticism alone won’t get the job done week in, week out in the NFL. Yet, Anderson already has pass-rush moves in his toolbox. In the tape studied, he demonstrated impressive swim and spin moves to overcome offensive linemen and impact the quarterback. His lean frame also allows Anderson to get underneath his man when rushing around the outside track. Additionally, he had reps where he moved the pocket with a surprisingly powerful initial strike.
Finally, Anderson can rush the passer from multiple alignments. The Georgia OLB has played with his hand in the dirt and stood up over the tackle. Furthermore, he has rushed from a wide alignment as well as being used as a quarterback spy. He can rush around the outside track, but his lateral agility means he can cut inside to penetrate gaps.
Areas for improvement
As you can see from above, Anderson has the potential to be one of the best pass rushers in the 2022 NFL Draft. Still, it’s time to pump the brakes and look at some genuine areas of concern from his scouting report.
It seems ludicrous to describe a player who has 34 college football games under his belt as inexperienced. However, the fact of it is Anderson has played just 337 career snaps. He’s never played more than 130 snaps in a season. He has essentially been a situational pass rusher for the Bulldogs. It remains to be seen how impactful he can be down after down.
As a result, he is far from a complete evaluation. There is plenty of projection involved. This is particularly applicable for his ability against the run — he has just 60 snaps against the run in his career. Although Anderson has shown some football intelligence in reading the run in that limited exposure, it’s not enough to confidently evaluate his ability to set the edge or routinely stop the run.
His size compounds those concerns. At 230 pounds, he’s exceptionally light. He’s likely to need to add mass to compete at the next level. After his initial punch, he doesn’t have the strength to overcome bigger offensive linemen. He’ll also need to work on his handwork — there were examples where he could not disengage from his blocker.
Adam Anderson Player Profile
A football journey rooted in family and faith, Anderson has overcome adversity and hurdled obstacles along the way to the NFL Draft. As a young man in high school, his sister and stepfather passed away, leaving him to help raise his younger brother alongside his mother. A strong family bond was forged with a religious one, with Anderson once getting up at 6 AM to make the six-mile walk to church.
That determination to overcome all obstacles was evident on the football field. In 2016, as a high school junior, Anderson was named the state Defensive Player of the Year by multiple outlets. As a result, he went into his senior season on the 2017 Preseason Super 11.
The Rome High School defensive lineman didn’t disappoint. Anderson was named the Bobby Dodd National Lineman of the Year (amongst other honors) after a senior campaign where he racked up 63 tackles, 10 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and an interception.
Anderson’s recruiting journey was as full throttle as his play on the field. A five-star recruit and the No. 1 outside linebacker in the 2018 class, Anderson received his first offer from Georgia in February 2016. The Bulldogs were his first commitment. Yet, he’d rescind and commit to LSU during 2017 before finally recommitting to the Bulldogs in October of his senior season.
Admitting that he’d rushed into each decision along the way, Anderson allowed his heart to make the final decision.
“This is where my heart tells me to go. I am excited about staying here and playing for Georgia.”
Anderson’s career at Georgia
Anderson had every right to be excited about playing for the Bulldogs, a consistent producer of pass-rush talent to the NFL Draft. However, a deep, talented defensive locker room has its downside for a player hoping to gain substantial playing time as a freshman.
Although limited in his snaps, the Georgia OLB saw action in 14 games. On his debut, he flashed his pass-rush prowess with a tackle for loss against Austin Peay. Moreover, Anderson registered a tackle for loss as part of a career-high 5 tackles against Georgia Tech. He tallied 16 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, half a sack, and 4 quarterback pressures in a solid freshman campaign.
Anderson’s sophomore campaign was a similar story. Once again, he appeared in 14 games with limited snaps. For the second consecutive season, he showed flashes of dominance for the Bulldogs’ defense. The Georgia OLB tallied his first career sack against Murray State, while a third of his total tackles in 2019 came against Baylor, including a second career sack.
Anderson emerges as an exciting and dangerous defensive disruptor
Last season was the best indicator to date of how dangerous Anderson can be. Ironically, given the disruption of the 2020 college football season, the Georgia native put in the most disruptive performances of his career as he obliterated offensive lines at every available opportunity.
Against Auburn, Anderson amassed 6 quarterback pressures and 2 sacks as he tamed the Tigers’ quarterback. His performance was picture perfect in the Peach Bowl, tallying another 2 sacks. Anderson finished second on the team in sacks (6.5) and QB pressures (24) last season.
With Azeez Ojulari departed to the NFL, the expectation is that Anderson will be the premier pass rusher for the Bulldogs this fall. It will be his best opportunity to prove that he can be a consistent pass-rush presence instead of just an exciting situational piece. If he can prove that he can be impactful in all phases of defense, there’s every possibility that Anderson is a legitimate contender at the top of the 2022 NFL Draft.