Selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, outside linebacker Ryan Anderson's sole focus when on the field is to be a game-changer who brings unmatched toughness.
In the moments following his selection with the No. 49-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, new Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Anderson was short on words. It just hadn't quite hit the Alabama native yet that he had been drafted into the NFL.
"I'm just ready to get back to football," Anderson told local reporters on a conference call. "I want to enjoy the rest of this night with my family. That's what I want to do."
While Anderson was short on words that night, his play at Alabama for four seasons was anything but, having recorded 128 tackles with 19 sacks, six fumbles forced, six fumbles recovered, three passes defensed and an interception.
During his senior season in 2016, Anderson earned first-team All-SEC honors, as he collected 61 tackles with nine sacks, four fumbles forced and three fumble recoveries.
Anderson will join an outside linebacking corps that already features two-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan along with Preston Smith, Junior Galette and Trent Murphy among others. While it make take the 6-foot-2, 253 pounder some time to get acclimated to the NFL, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said he'll immediately bring "a style of play here that we've been looking for."
"He's a non-stop-motor guy," Gruden said. "He plays extremely hard. I heard part of his interviews [on draft night] [laughter]. I think he's that type of guy. Watching film with him, he's standing up watching film and talking about everybody's job. He's just a very high energy, high motor, tenacious guy and I think it's going to rub off on a lot of people."
Anderson describes himself as a playmaker that can change games in a heartbeat. For a defense that is looking for more pass rushing consistency outside of Kerrigan, the rookie could live up to the description right away.
On Friday, April 28, 2017, the Washington Redskins selected linebacker Ryan Anderson with the 49th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
"I'm the old-smith football player," Anderson said. "I'm not a combine warrior, not a workout warrior, I'm a football player. At the end of the day, that's what it boils down to. It boils down to 'see ball, get ball and striking the man in front of you.' That's what I bring to the table."
Born and raised in Daphne, Ala., before attending the University of Alabama from 2012-16, being in the Washington, D.C., area will be a change for Anderson. But he already has one familiar face with him at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va., in first-round pick Jonathan Allen.
The two were teammates during Anderson's four active seasons (2013-16) for the Crimson Tide. Together, the duo combined for more than one-third (19.5) of Alabama's NCAA Division-IA sacks lead during the 2016 season.
"We got to the point where we can work together, we can go out there and we call a lot of games and stuff on our own – that came with trust and time," Anderson said of his relationship with Allen. "For us to be on the same team, we can just pick right back up where we left off. I know him and I know his skill set. I know when he's hot, I'm going to cover him, and if I'm rushing good, he can cover me. We pretty much have got that understanding. Like I said, man, it's a great feeling to have another dog, somebody that's going to go out there and lay it out there with you every day. That's good, too."