January 27, 2023

Mel Kiper has Alabama Edge Rusher Will Anderson Picked No. 3 in the 2023 NFL Draft, he’s going to the Arizona Cardinals in his first mock of the new year. Anderson is the second defensive player selected behind Georgia’s defensive tackle Jalen Carter 1st place for the Chicago Bears. Anderson finished the regular season with 10 sacks after registering 17.5 in 2021. Despite a relatively quiet campaign by his own standards, he was once again an All-SEC performer. Teams doubled Anderson by the ton, but he constantly worked his way through.

“Great worker – tremendous passion for the game, never stops with a game,” said Kiper First draft podcast. “Whether it’s a run, whether it’s the quarterback or coverage sacks, he’s going to make it. He’ll keep that offensive tackle working and focused for the entire game – because if that offensive tackle lasts a game or two and is distracted by whatever, he’s going to hit you.

“And my thing is – against NFL bookends, which are the best in the world, OK – without the explosiveness, without the bend of a Myles Garrett or a By Miller, he can do what he did, say in 2021 when he was unblockable and he was more blockable this year because his numbers and overall dominance went down a bit, he can take his game to the next level the way it is and a 12 to 15 bags a year guy? That’s what you’re looking for. That’s how you want him. Can he be the guy against the world’s best offensive tacklers? That will be interesting to watch to see how his career develops.”

The Cardinals had 36 sacks this season, ranking in the bottom third of the league. JJ Watt announced his retirement, and he accounted for more than a third (12.5) of those sacks.

“But for Arizona, that’s what they need to get him by three,” Kiper said. “… This year you have not seen the Bosa, Nick Bosathe Myles Garrett, Joey Bosa, By Miller — You haven’t seen that from Will Anderson Jr. this year, so I think he could drop down to that third place and still be a guy you have to wonder about. Is he a six, seven, eight, nine sack type? Or is he that 12-15-18 sack guy? That remains to be seen.”

Get the fastest results, stats, news, LIVE videos and more. CLICK HERE to download the CBS Sports Mobile App and get the latest on your team today.

Anderson, a former five-star recruit from Hampton (Ga.) Dutchtown High, was the No. 5 player in the class of 2020. He was also the top defensive player on the weak side and Georgia player. 247Sports rankings for Anderson were higher than the industry-compiled 247Sports Composite, which ranked him the #17 player nationally, top player at his position, and #4 player from Georgia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *