Anderson is the 6 foot 6, 280 pound monster of a defensive end from the University of Arkansas. Anderson is coming off a great junior year for the 'Hogs, as he had 65 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, and 13.5 sacks, in just 13 games.
On most boards he is rated as the number two defensive end behind Clemson's Gaines Adams, including here at Scout.com. Anderson posts great size and athleticism for a big man (ran a 4.75/40 yard dash at the combine). Anderson actually entered the University of Arkansas as a wide receiver, but was moved to defensive end. Anderson has an enormous wingspan and has a great motor. These attributes make him appear to be the prototype defensive end that teams around the NFL are looking for. In summation, Anderson has size, speed, power, athleticism, and he plays the run as well as he rushes the passer.
So if Anderson has all the measurable's, and a great motor to go along with that, then what's the problem? He's raw. It seems Anderson may be slipping down draft boards because he only really had one good year at Arkansas. As a junior, Anderson was credited with 13.5 sacks. Some teams fear that Anderson's inexperience could be a big downfall, and they feel that he poses a huge boom/bust risk. In college, he excelled on his athleticism alone, which will not work in the NFL. He lacks proper pass rushing technique, and isn't overly powerful as he has a lot of trouble shedding blocks at times. The good news is that he has room on his frame to bulk up (to around 300 lbs.) with minimal speed loss.
Previously, Anderson was a lock for a Top 10 pick, but now he seems to be sliding into the latter part of Round 1. As my favorite radio host often says, Anderson is a victim of "Paralysis by Analysis" in this dead time of year. It's when scouts and personnel people pick apart players to no end. It appears that Anderson now seems to be falling past other defensive ends like Nebraska's Adam Carriker and Florida's Jarvis Moss. If Anderson falls to the Jaguars at pick 17, they're going to be between a rock and a hard place. They could be faced with the guy that many locals would love to see, Florida's Reggie Nelson, possibly Adam Carriker of Nebraska, Jarvis Moss of Florida, as well as Anderson. That's four premier prospects staring the team in the face, two of which are locals.
It will be interesting just how far the "raw" Jamaal Anderson falls in this draft. He poses almost unlimited upside at the defensive end position, but he also has that "raw" aspect about him that scares teams away from players in the first round. The Jaguars, under the new regime, have shown a tendency to take on first round "projects". The Jaguars would be hard pressed to pass on a talent like Jamaal Anderson to stick on their already very good defensive line, but they'll also be hard pressed to pass on Reggie Nelson if he's still available at pick #17. Is it better value to grab Reggie Nelson in Round 1, and take an end like a Victor Abiamiri in Round 2; or is it better to take Anderson in Round 1 and grab a guy like Sabby Piscitelli, who the Jaguars are reportedly enamored with, in Round 2?