As the Jets get close to training camp, I am going to examine the roster and give you my top 25 players. Each weekday, we will reveal another person on the list, leading right into camp. I am not including rookies on this list because I do not feel it is possible to fully evaluate them before they play a game.
No. 13: Henry Anderson
Last year’s ranking: 25
Age on Opening Day: 28
How acquired: Traded from the Colts on April 28, 2018 in exchange for a sixth-round pick.
Years left on contract: 3
2019 Salary Cap figure: $7.8 million
Looking back at 2018: There were not many expectations for Anderson entering last year. Former general manager Mike Maccagnan traded for him during the draft and it did not make much of a ripple because of all the focus on the team’s draft picks, including Sam Darnold.
But Anderson had a major impact for the Jets. He only started three games, but played in all 16 and his role increased as the year went on. He passed draft pick Nathan Shepherd on the depth chart and became a force up front for the Jets.
Anderson tied for the team lead with seven sacks. He also knocked down four passes, had 35 tackles, seven for a loss, 16 quarterback hits, blocked a field goal and blocked an extra point.
What does not show up in the stats was how strong he was against the run. He gave the Jets a complement to Leonard Williams along the defensive line.
Pro Football Focus rated Anderson 35th out of the 112 interior defensive linemen they graded.
Outlook for 2019: There was some thought that Anderson might be allowed to walk in free agency by the Jets after the team hired Gregg Williams as its new defensive coordinator. The expectation was Williams would run a 4-3 and Anderson might not fit.
But the Jets are sticking with a 3-4 base and the team gave Anderson a three-year, $25.2 million contract in March. Anderson seems excited about being in Williams’ defense and feels he has the versatility to fit whatever type of front Williams wants to run.
The defensive line could be the strength of the Jets with Anderson, Leonard Williams and Quinnen Williams all able to get after the quarterback. The Jets don’t have a stud edge rusher, but feel that they will be able to affect the quarterback by collapsing the pocket up the middle. Anderson is a huge part of that plan.