Defensive line is a well-known strength of the 2019 New York Jets. The veteran presence of Leonard Williams, coupled with the electrifying rookie Quinnen Williams, is enough to excite any fanbase. Even so, an often forgotten name amongst the position group is one who routinely makes his presence felt. Fifth-year defensive end Henry Anderson has proven to be one of the best moves of the Mike Maccagnan era. Earning a starting spot immediately with Gang Green, Anderson has not looked back. Heading into 2019 may be the last time fans can consider the Stanford product underrated.
Henry Anderson Continues to Flash for New York Jets
Henry Anderson was acquired by Mike Maccagnan during the 2018 NFL season. Trading a seventh-round pick to the Indianapolis Colts was enough to get the job done. This low price may seem a bit shocking as Anderson had already flashed a bit in Indianapolis. Starting 19 games in his three years with the Colts, Anderson recorded three sacks and a forced fumble. The issue with Anderson has always been staying healthy. Missing 19 games in his brief four-year career has limited his exposure to the masses, and it appears teams as well. Still, the Jets scouting department deserves major credit for identifying Anderson as a trade target. As he continues to make plays for the green and white, his seventh-round price tag looks better and better.
On the field, Henry Anderson has been nothing shy of a steal for the green and white. Toting an impressive seven sacks from his interior defensive position, Anderson was an immediate boost to an otherwise lacking pass rush. Jordan Jenkins is often regarded as the team’s top pass rusher, and while this may be true schematically, it is Anderson who has truly been the most effective. While both players recorded seven sacks in 2018, Anderson did so from the less advantaged position. As both players continue to develop, they could form an underrated pass-rushing duo that needs just a true lead player to become dangerous.
2018 was the first time in Anderson’s brief career that he was active for all 16 games. If his play was any indication, it has certainly been the injuries that have held him back in bringing his game to another level. As such, it is not unreasonable to believe that Anderson will be able to build off of his 2018 success and continue to elevate his game in 2019.
His fit in Gregg Williams’ defense will be interesting. If the preseason thus far has been any indication, Anderson will play all over the defensive line in 2019. This sort of versatility is exactly what a defense lacking overall depth needs. After the devastating injury to Avery Williamson, the Jets need this sort of depth more than anything.
Anderson has flashed glimpses of his growth so far in the 2019 preseason. Two plays in the past game against the Atlanta Falcons were particularly impressive. One came early in the first quarter when Anderson bowled over Ty Sambrailo en route to pressuring Matt Ryan. Another came on a play actually made by Jamal Adams. His recorded sack was truly freed up by Anderson eating a triple team from Atlanta’s offensive line. These two plays are simply the tip of the iceberg for Anderson’s overall potential. If he can produce similarly in a consistent fashion, and stay healthy, he will be one of the best trades in recent memory for Gang Green.
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