Seahawks Draft Profile: Why Bama’s Will Anderson is draft’s top defender

Apr 25, 2023, 3:54 PM | Updated: 4:00 pm

Seattle Seahawks draft Will Anderson...

Will Anderson Jr. of the Alabama Crimson Tide sacks Max Johnson of the LSU Tigers on Nov. 6, 2021. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

We’re just two days away from the 2023 NFL Draft, and the Seattle Seahawks are arguably the most interesting team in this draft thanks to two first-round picks, including No. 5 overall.

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A big topic of conversation on the Seattle Sports airwaves over the last few months is just who the Seahawks will take with that No. 5 pick.

Former NFL quarterback and current FOX Sports college football analyst Brock Huard has been going through 20 of his favorite prospects in the leadup to the draft, and his focus on Tuesday is a player many fans and analysts feel would be a home run if the Seahawks are able to take him fifth overall.

That player? Star Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson.

“He’s known as ‘The Terminator’ because he destroys things and he destroys opponents and he breaks their will,” Huard said during Tuesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports.

Anderson is 6 foot 3, 253 pounds and is a two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time first-team All-American edge rusher.

“He led the country in pressures in 2021. He led the country in pressures in 2022,” Huard said. “… It was every single year, this guy posted.”

Two other top defenders who many think could land with the Seahawks – Georgia D-tackle Jalen Carter and Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson – can’t really say the same, Huard said. Wilson was a “one-year wonder” while Carter had limited box score production. Anderson, meanwhile, had 27.5 sacks over the last two seasons.

“People can tell me Jalen Carter is the No. 1 defensive player in this draft. For me, the No. 1 one defensive player in this draft … is Will Anderson, and I really haven’t moved off that,” Huard said.

Scheme fit is always a topic of conversation when it comes to the NFL Draft, especially with players selected so early on. Huard said with Anderson, he’s got such an elite toolset that you “make him fit your scheme” if you’re the Seahawks.

“You make him fit your four-down (look), you make him fit all of your pass-rushing situations, you make him fit all of your fronts to get him into a one-on-one situation where he can be your LEO and he can absolutely destroy and wreck games, which is all he did for three years at Alabama,” Huard said. “I just don’t understand it. I don’t get why he’s slipping … The production has been off the charts for three years.”

A common comparison for Anderson is Von Miller, one of this generation’s top edge rushers who went second overall to the Denver Broncos in 2011. While Miller did burst onto the scene pretty quickly and establish himself as a top edge rusher, Huard noted he needed veteran rusher and Pro Football Hall of Famer DeMarcus Ware “to reach his ceiling.”

“Unbelievable instincts to get to the quarterback and wreck games for three years. I don’t understand the nitpicking,” Huard said of Anderson. “I’m totally biased on this guy, he is a total pro. Von needed someone to grow him up and this guy doesn’t. He’s a grown up the minute he walks in your building.”

The question with Anderson and the Seahawks is whether or not he even gets to No. 5 overall.

Anderson won’t go No. 1 as the Carolina Panthers are going to take a quarterback, but he may go second overall to the Houston Texans or third overall to the Arizona Cardinals.

Huard has made it clear that he thinks the Seahawks should trade their two first-round picks to trade up and take Anderson in the draft.

Why Huard would trade 5 and 20 to get Will Anderson to Seattle Seahawks

“A lot of folks don’t want to do it. ‘You’ve got this draft capital, you’ve got this real estate, you don’t trade up. This is not the time you trade up. You don’t trade No. 20 (because it’s) too valuable,'” he said.

Huard disagrees.

During Monday’s show, Huard broke down the amount of impact players taken at No. 20 overall, noting that there haven’t been that many. Additionally, he brought up a conversation he and Mike Salk had with former NFL player and current CBS analyst Charles Davis on Monday, where Davis said there are only 15 players with first-round grades.

If that’s indeed the case, Huard said the 20th pick isn’t as valuable as it may seem.

“I think if you sharpen the pencils and got the GMs (to give the) actual numbers, it would be about 12. So tell me how valuable No. 20 is compared to 37 and 52?” he said. “If you’re gonna make the case that you take a flyer on Anthony Richardson at five because you still have 20, 37 and 52, why would you not (trade up for Anderson)? Why wouldn’t you take No. 20 – not a first-round value anyway, not much difference between 37 and 52 – and go on up and go get your difference-maker?”

Listen to Huard’s full draft profile at this link or in the player below.

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Seahawks Draft Profile: Why Bama’s Will Anderson is draft’s top defender