Drafted: ROUND: 3 - Pick Number: 67 (DEN)
Draft Profile: BioDrew Sanders from Ryan High School was rated a 4-star recruit by ESPN and handed a 5-star grade by 247 Sports. After high school, Sanders joined Alabama after being heavily recruited.
In 2020 as a freshman Sanders saw action in 7 games and played a total of 52 snaps for the Crimson Tide. He recorded just 2 tackles, one assist, while adding one stop. As a pass rusher, he added 3 total pressures, which included 2 QB hurries, one QB hit, and no sacks on the season.
As a sophomore for the Crimson Tide in 2021 Sanders played in 11 games and took part in 284 snaps for the Crimson Tide as part of a rotation. He recorded 17 tackles, 8 assists, while adding 9 stops. In coverage, Sanders made one pass breakup, and a QB rating when targetted of 98.8. As a pass rusher, he chalked up 9 total pressures, and 6 QB hurries, 3 QB hits, and no sacks during the year.
After season's end Sanders transferred to Arkansas with the goal of getting more playing time. For the Razorbacks in 2022 Sanders appeared in 12 games and played 846 snaps as he recorded 63 tackles, 27 assists while making 43 stops. In coverage, Sanders chalked up 2 pass breakups, one interception, and a decent QB rating when targetted of 88.0. As a pass rusher, he produced a huge 39 total pressures, which included 25 QB hurries, 3 QB hits, and an impressive 11 sacks on the year.
Honors & awards
- Finalist for the Dick Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker
- 2022 Unanimous All-American in his single season at Arkansas
- 2022 First Arkansas linebacker to earn First-Team All-America honors from the AP since Ronnie Caveness in 1964
- 2022 First-Team All-SEC by the AP, Coaches, Pro Football Focus, and USA Today
- High School - composite five-star recruit by 247Sports
- High School - No. 36 in the ESPN 300
- High School - selected to the Under Armour All-America Game
Scouting Report: Strengths
- He’s at his best in the pass rush. While he’s undersized for the edge, Sanders is flexible and twitchy, showing an explosive first step and the ability to dip and bend around blockers.
- Handles misdirection well with quick change-of-direction ability. Comes downhill quickly against the run when Sanders has an open lane.
- Sanders had good position versatility - can play as an inside linebacker or an edge rusher
- At Arkansas was massively productive during 2022 as he led the team in tackles, pressures, and sacks
- Great first step and is usually beats his man off the snap
- His ability to anticipate gives him a legitimate sideline-to-sideline range. He’ll work hard to disengage when he has to, and he has the long arms and heavy hands to shed blocks.
- Tougher between the tackles than many expect. Fluid and quick drop into zone, covers enough ground to be Tampa-2 "MIKE" and knows where the markers are.
- One of the true straight-up edge burners in this draft class, he has the kind of skill set NFL teams covet in an edge rusher
- Flashes closing speed and agility to reach passers from the blind side or up the middle before they can escape.
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
- Bites on play fakes - needs to read the play better
- While Sanders moves well laterally, he doesn’t always get there in pursuit.
- Very experienced - has had just a single season as a starter
- Not a consistent tackler - all too often we've seen him let runners out of his grasp
- Still very inexperienced in coverage - in his best year in 2022 he surrendered a QB rating when targetted off 88.0
- Sanders is on the small side, and his frame is pretty much maxed out. Despite his effort and intensity, he’ll simply get swallowed up at times.
- Despite being highly productive he's still inexperienced and needs to develop a larger repertoire of pass-rush moves
Scouting Report: SummarySanders totally resurrected his college career after transferring from Alabama where he put a season of dominating play. He may suffer as an NFL prospect due to not having an obvious position. He's somewhat undersized for a traditional edge rusher at just 235 lbs, (although has the frame to add more weight) and while he has the prototypical size for a linebacker is only average as a tackler in run defense. He will likely be drafted for his potential which is high given his athletic and his natural pass-rushing burst. Currently, we view Sanders as worthy of a third-round selection come the 2023 NFL draft.
Drew Sanders percentiles vs other Linebacker's (NFL Combine historically - higher value represents better perfomance)
Drew Sanders Three Minute Video Review
Courtesy of NFL Draft Buzz contributor Steven Wright
How other scouting services rate Drew Sanders (Overall Rank)
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