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Will Anderson Jr.'s fit in DeMeco Ryans' defense


When Will Anderson Jr. met with the Texans during the pre-draft process, he couldn't stop thinking about his visit to Houston. Anderson, selected No. 3 overall in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night, said his meeting with the coaching staff felt authentic and that the "energy here was just right."

For the Texans, the feeling was mutual.

"In our 30 visit, it was just an instant connection, not only with me, but with our entire staff," Head Coach DeMeco Ryans said Friday. "That's one thing that Will did a great job just connecting with everyone, not only myself. Will is a great person. He's a great teammate, and that's followed him from Alabama on throughout his next journey here. He'll continue to be that great teammate, and people will gravitate towards him."

The Texans traded up from No. 12 to select Anderson, who earned the Bednarik Award and led the SEC in sacks (10) and tackles for loss (17) last year. On Friday, Ryans confirmed that Anderson will play defensive end in his scheme, attacking and getting up the field.

"The thing about Will, and I told him earlier, like he doesn't have to be the staple of the defense," Ryans said. "He just has to come in and be the best Will Anderson. That's it. He doesn't have to do anything more than that, nothing more, nothing less. Just be the best version of himself, and that's going to be good enough for our team."

As a freshman, Anderson earned the starting job at jack linebacker for Nick Saban's defense. He spent three seasons (2020-22) at Alabama and played in all 41 games, recording 205 total tackles for loss and 34.5 sacks. He became the Tide's first multi-year multi-year unanimous All-American and was also voted a permanent captain by his teammates, as well as the most inspiring player.

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