NY Jets Optimistic Roster Breakdown: DL Henry Anderson

NY Jets (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

NY Jets’ defensive lineman Henry Anderson will be looking to get back on track in 2020.

The NY Jets‘ defensive line saw a number of surprise standouts last season with a few unexpected players shining in their first year under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. But one player who didn’t enjoy the same success was Henry Anderson.

The Jets originally traded for Anderson back on Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft when they sent a measly seventh-round pick to the Indianapolis Colts for the oft-injured defensive lineman.

Be it because of injuries, a poor scheme fit, or simply disappointing play, Anderson never developed into more than a replaceable role player in Indianapolis. But that soon changed once he joined the Jets.

Anderson finished the 2018 season with a career-high seven sacks as he put together arguably the best year of any Jets defensive lineman. Then general manager Mike Maccagnan would reward him in the offseason with a hefty three-year, $25.2 million extension with $17 million guaranteed.

It was quite the vote of confidence given Anderson’s injury history and lack of prior above-average play. And all the Jets’ fears came crashing down the following season.

Anderson would take a major step back playing in 13 games while recording just one sack. Moreover, his Pro Football Focus grade dipped to a poor 55.8 which ranked him as the 100th best interior defensive lineman out of only 118 qualifiers.

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Now going into 2020, what can Anderson do to bounce back and prove that the 2018 season wasn’t a fluke?

How Henry Anderson can find success with the NY Jets in 2020

Anderson struggled immensely in 2019 both in run defense and as a pass-rusher. Both his run-defense and pass-rush grades from PFF were below 60.0 as he failed to make much of a positive impact in any way on defense.

It is important to note, however, that he played a good portion of the year with an injured shoulder.

Anderson injured his shoulder in early October and while the injury only forced him to miss three games, he was still feeling the effects of the injury throughout the rest of the season.

This has been the story of Anderson’s career as he’s dealt with numerous ailments ranging from knee problems to a laryngeal fracture that prematurely ended his 2017 season.

In fact, in his three years in Indianapolis, Anderson missed a total of 19 games never playing more than 11 in a season. That injury luck balanced out with a fully-healthy 2018 campaign but returned with an injury-riddled 2019.

Simply put, if Anderson is going to find success with the Jets, he must play at his peak and stay healthy.

Anderson will be directly/indirectly competing for playing time with a collection of younger players such as guys like Folorunso Fatukasi, Nathan Shepherd, Kyle Phillips, and third-round pick Jabari Zuniga.

Given that the Jets have an out in his contract after this season, it would appear as though many of those players have brighter futures with the organization. However, if Anderson could play well enough in 2020, he might just convince the Jets to keep him around.

The 28-year-old must rediscover whatever made his 2018 season the best year of his career. That includes his impressive pass-rush ability from that season as well as his reliable run-stopping traits.

Both were absent last year.

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Ultimately, Anderson will look to play more like the 2018 version of himself than the 2019 iteration this season. If not, he’ll very likely be playing for a new team come 2021.