Welcome to the 20/20 series. As part of our continued Dynasty Scouts coverage and in preparation for the NFL Combine, we will be profiling 20 of the top incoming rookies of the class of 2019 by giving you 20 facts you must know.
1.) Player Name – Rodney Anderson
2.) College – Oklahoma Sooners
3.) Height/Weight – 6’1”, 220
4.) Birthdate – 09/12/1996
5.) Class – RS Junior
6.) Basic college stats –
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Stats courtesy of sports-reference.com.
7.) NFL Draft round projection – Even if his medical checks come back as clean as can be, I have a hard time seeing Anderson besting a round three grade. We have a small sample size on him given his inability to stay on the field during his four years in Norman. It is a shame, as Anderson was an ascending star in 2017 who would have had a legitimate case to be RB1 were he healthy in 2018. If the medicals are even a bit murky, he could slide well into day three.
8.) Current NFL comparison – Anderson has a powerful lower body and soft hands which remind me a bit of Mark Ingram. Like Ingram, I’d expect Anderson to thrive as a jack-of-all-trades back as opposed to one who dominates with a standout skill. He’s not going to bludgeon defenders with power; instead, he is going to use a strong base and slippery pads to play pinball with defenders to fight for extra yardage. Also in the vein of Ingram, I see Anderson working best in tandem with a back who plays more in space.
9.) Best possible destination – It becomes tiring recycling the same few landing spots as the pinnacle of situations for incoming runners, so I will change the pace a bit. The Buffalo Bills have a long-term need at the position with LeSean McCoy on the tail end of his career with a lot of carries under his belt. Anderson’s rugged style is a good fit in Buffalo and he has the pass-catching chops to thrive with an improvisational passer like Josh Allen. Even if the Bills offense is never efficient with Allen, it is at least intriguing, and Buffalo has long been kind to fantasy backs given the downright unpredictable conditions at Orchard Park.
10.) Worst possible destination – While the Eagles are a good landing spot on paper, I don’t see Anderson as the talent to consolidate their multiple back system into a one-man group. Philadelphia has been content utilizing multiple backs to fill multiple roles. While I see Anderson as possessing more natural talent than a Wendell Smallwood or Corey Clement, I don’t see him just eliminating this RBBC. It could be a frustrating ride with Anderson in Eagle green.
11.) Best current skill – Anderson does an incredible job of staying square at the point of attack and easily eschewing arm tackles. His balance shines throughout his tape and gives him a foundation for NFL success. Even without explosive open-field ability, it allows Anderson to pick up chunks of extra yardage in the open field; he’s not going down on first contact.
12.) Skill that needs to be improved – Pass protection is a common bugaboo for young backs. Oklahoma’s system generally does not require its backs to get dirty in pass protection. Anderson, however, can be incredibly sloppy with technique and his protection skills are best compared to a matador. Despite a fairly well-rounded game elsewhere, he will have issues gaining work without major strides in this area.
13.) Past/current rookie ADP – Rodney Anderson is currently going as the tenth player off the board, per DLF Rookie ADP. Fantasy owners appear confident he will have a strong draft pedigree; the first round should be reserved for players taken on day one or day two. I was surprised to see this aggressive ADP at this juncture. There are a lot of question marks for Anderson to address prior to April’s draft.
14.) Projected dynasty value – There are always a few dynasty darlings whose trade value surpass their tangible value, and based on the above, Anderson may be one such player. I like Anderson’s talent and his overall makeup, but there are massive durability concerns which make me question his draft pedigree and overall workload. Given the current price tag, he is a hard pass for me.
15.) Recruiting Profile – Anderson was a 247 Sports Composite Four-Star recruit out of Katy, Texas, with major offers from schools such as Texas, Texas A&M, Auburn, and of course Oklahoma. Injuries derailed what could have otherwise been a special career for Anderson. He was the buzzed-about camp player who never got an opportunity to show his true skills, outside of his strong 2017 season.
16.) Injuries – It was a broken leg in 2015. A neck injury in 2016. An ACL in 2018. You can’t talk about Anderson without working through his injury history. Medicals will obviously be huge, and I can’t say I have the expertise to extemporize on their long-term impacts. But missing three full seasons out of four is sure to add a medical red flag to any prospect.
17.) Commitment – You have to admire Anderson’s resiliency. He’s had hard luck throughout his career at Oklahoma, yet has come back each time to compete in the Sooner backfield. He has the type of story which makes him easy to root for.
18.) Best Game In A Big Spot – Anderson’s career high of 201 rushing yards came in the national semifinal against Georgia, a wild game in which defense was optional yet one in which Anderson dominated.
19.) Accomplished Academically – Anderson already has an Undergraduate Degree in hand, and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Human Relations.
20.) Big Fish In A Big Pond – Anderson’s 2017 season was fantastic, but it did not start on a high note from a statistical standpoint. He totaled 34 rushing yards in the Sooners first four games before ascending to the top of the depth chart. Given Oklahoma’s depth at running back (Trey Sermon was his main competition and looks to be a high pick in 2020) Anderson assuming a majority of the backfield work is an impressive feat.