According to ProFootballFocus, Indianapolis Colts defensive end Henry Anderson was among one of the league’s top run-stuffing players at his position in 2015:
Of course, dating back to his Stanford days, Anderson has long been a favorite of Pro Football Focus.
In fact, he was on pace to make their recently released PFF Top 101, but saw his promising rookie year prematurely end after suffering a season-ending knee injury near midseason:
"2. Henry Anderson, DE, Indianapolis ColtsAs a third-round rookie, Henry Anderson was on pace to make the Top 101 in 2015 had it not been for a season-ending injury in Week 9. At that point of the season, he was a top-10 3-4 defensive end, with six of the nine players ahead of him at the time ultimately making the Top 101. Anderson stood out the most as a playmaker against the run; his 12.0 run-stop percentage was the second-best for 3-4 defensive ends on the season. Even though he was held to one sack on the year, he was the Colts’ most persistent interior rusher, with a 7.1 pass-rushing productivity. More often than not, defensive linemen improve from year one to year two, so one would hope Anderson is healthy and can build upon his rookie success next season. — Nathan Jahnke,@PFF_NateJahnkeKey Stat: Through the first five weeks of 2015, Anderson ranked second among all 3-4 defensive ends in run stops, tackles, and overall run-defense grade."
With the Colts having lost Art Jones to his own season-ending injury in preseason, Anderson started the team’s first 9 games as a rookie 3rd round pick.
If he was supposed to play like he was inexperienced, Anderson sure didn’t show it, as he was in the rookie of the year watch earlier in the season for his exceptional play.
The Colts are hoping that Anderson can regain his prior form and build off such an encouraging rookie season that was unfortunately cut short by injury.
Despite the knee injury, Anderson made 31 tackles and a sack for the defense in 9 starts. However, his impact along the defensive line–particularly in the run-stopping department is felt far outside the box score measuring simple statistics.
Nevertheless, team owner Jim Irsay has said that there is “no guarantee” that Anderson may be ready for the team’s season opener, which means he could initially begin the season on the team’s PUP, where he’d miss at least the first 6 weeks of the regular season.
Still, the 24 year old defensive end appears to have the potential to be a real building block for the team’s defense long-term and a star in the making, so the team will likely want to be cautious with his ongoing rehabilitation.
The hope is that eventually with both Jones and Anderson returning that the Colts defensive line could actually be a key area of strength for the team going forward.