The Detroit Lions are doing their homework on the best prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft class. According to a report from Aaron Wilson, the Lions have already hosted Alabama edge defender Will Anderson for a top-30, pre-draft visit.
Anderson is considered by many to be the best defender in this year’s class. In three years at Alabama, Anderson racked up 204 tackles, 58.5 tackles for loss, and 34.5 sacks—the second-most sacks in program history. He was awarded the Bronko Nagurski Trophy in back-to-back years, given to the best defensive player in college football (by the Football Writers Association of America), and Anderson finished fifth in Heisman voting in 2021.
What makes Anderson such a dangerous weapon is his elite get-off, combine with almost all of the physical traits you’d want in a pass rusher. He’s got impressive arm length (33.9-inches), decent size (6-foot-3, 253), and elite athleticism to match.
Will Anderson just moves at a different speed than everyone else. pic.twitter.com/5xIYyzYByg— Austin Gayle (@austingayle_) April 3, 2023
Edge defender isn’t a massive need for the Lions, after Detroit drafted both Aidan Hutchinson (9.5 sacks in 2022) and James Houston (8.0) last year and was able to renegotiate contracts to keep Charles Harris and Romeo Okwara around. However, the Lions have questions at the position beyond 2023, and general manager Brad Holmes noted at last week’s owners meetings that the Lions’ draft strategy will not be overly reliant on their current depth chart.
“When you’re approaching the draft and you’re just looking to fill those question marks, fill those holes, I do think that that can equate to some mistakes,” Holmes said, per MLive “I say back in St. Louis even, it got to a point where we had a pretty strong defensive line and we had some concerns elsewhere, but we just kept adding to our defensive line. And it just turned into this beast that was just a strength of the football team.”
In addition to Anderson, the Lions have also met (or are scheduled to meet) with several other projected top draft picks—including Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter—all of which you can keep track of in our constantly updating draft prospect visit tracker.