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Will Anderson Jr. Declares for 2023 NFL Draft; Alabama Star Ranks No. 1 by B/R Scouts

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 2, 2023

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
AP Photo/Vasha Hunt

Alabama pass-rusher Will Anderson Jr. announced Monday he will declare for the 2023 NFL draft, via ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Teammates Bryce Young and Jahmyr Gibbs also made their decision to enter the draft, per Jordan Reid of ESPN.

The decision is not a surprising one as Anderson has become one of the best players in college football at any position.

Anderson is currently rated the No. 1 player in the 2023 NFL draft by Bleacher Report's Scouting Department. He entered the year as the projected No. 1 pick in B/R's preseason mock draft, and he hasn't done anything to change this mindset during the 2022 season. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. kept the defensive end as his No. 1 overall player in the class in November.

The 5-star prospect out of high school made his presence felt immediately at the college level, becoming a starter as a true freshman in 2020 while tallying seven sacks for a team that went on to win a national championship.

Anderson truly stood out individually in 2021, tallying 101 tackles while leading the country with 17.5 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss.

The production led to being named SEC Defensive Player of the Year, winning the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation's top defensive player and finishing fifth in voting for the Heisman Trophy.

Even with more attention on him in 2022, Anderson continued to make plays with 10 sacks and 17 tackles for loss in 12 regular-season games before closing his year with a Sugar Bowl victory over Kansas State.

He showcased his athleticism at the start of the season with an interception returned for a touchdown:

Alabama Football @AlabamaFTBL

TAKE IT TO THE 🏡<br>@Will_anderson_28<br><br>📺 <a href="https://twitter.com/SECNetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SECNetwork</a><br>📱<a href="https://t.co/a1346IORpt">https://t.co/a1346IORpt</a> <a href="https://t.co/L7NVHTsPHe">pic.twitter.com/L7NVHTsPHe</a>

The defensive star is now headed to the next level, where he will have high expectations to make a quick impact for whichever team drafts him.

Though positional need will be important, Anderson has a strong chance to be the No. 1 overall pick on draft day.