Anthony Spencer   DE   Purdue

 

STRENGTHS 

Anthony is a smart, quick, set-you-up-for-the-kill DE.  He has a knack for changing the line of scrimmage.  He shows good strength and uses his hands very well.  He does a solid job handling his responsibilities in the running game and is a strong team player.  Anthony understands team football and situational football.  He is very athletic with those nice long arms that help him to keep his opponent away from his body.  He can do all the pass rushing moves and will use every one of them against you in a game so that the OT has no idea what is coming next.  He is going to be a hell of a player at the next level and is very underrated right now. 

 

NEEDS TO IMPROVE

He is undersized -– so what!  COACH BETTER.  What are you so afraid of?  Drafting a player who can actually change the line of scrimmage, sack the QB and cause fumbles?  If you are scared of drafting a player like that because he is “undersized”, then stay far away from drafting Anthony!  Anthony will always have some problems handling the run when he is double-teamed. So what?!  So do most of the weak side DE’s in the league. 

 

TALENT BOARD ROUND: 1

Yes, Anthony could play OLB in a 3-4 defense, but I believe that if you want him to impact in his first year like Mike Anderson (DE Chicago Bears – see archives), just let him put his hand down and rush the passer.  He will have more of an immediate impact.  Will Anthony eventually be a good OLB in a 3-4 defense?  Yes, but his impact for your team is when he rushes the passer and you are making his LTI longer if you try to make him a complete OLB his first year.  Anthony will eventually be one of the better OLB’s in a 3-4 defense, but for his first two years, just let him put his hand down and rush the passer.  Your defense will be better right away if you do that instead of trying to make Anthony a 3-4 OLB.  There are a number of reasons I think players with talent like this will be better for your team if you let them just be pass rushers the first few years instead of every down players learning a new position.  1) They lack the physical stamina to play a full sixteen game schedule.  2) You give them some immediate success in the league, which makes them want to work harder to stay on the field longer.  3) You just can’t beat a fresh pass rusher coming into the game against a tired OT.  4) You make a defense, game plan for another person other than your starters.  Now, what have you accomplished by working Anthony this way instead of trying to make him a full time OLB or full time DE right away?  Anthony will impact more for your defense his first year and second year while he is learning and getting bigger and stronger.  Also, the player will be less likely to get injured because he will have a chance to be in better shape.  If DeMarcus Ware had been handled this way instead of playing full time right away, the Cowboys defense would have been impossible to deal with for the last two years instead of just being a young, up and coming defense for the last two years.  DeMarcus still would have learned the position and matured.  The Cowboys are very lucky he did not get injured in the process.  DeMarcus would have had the same imposing impact that Mike Anderson has had for the Bears.  Draft Anthony and give him a chance to impact in his first year.  Don’t let him waste a year or two learning a new position or learning to be a full time DE for the future.  The future is now in the NFL and LTI is more important now than potential “down the road” talent. 

Drew Boylhart

February/2007