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Oklahoma Sooners Football - 2019 NFL Draft Profile: Rodney Anderson

Anderson is projected to be selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft

Rodney Anderson breaks free of defenders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Yet another Oklahoma Sooners’ running back is up for grabs at the 2019 NFL Draft. However, Rodney Anderson is a special case — he was great when he was on the field, but we only had a relatively brief glimpse at his potential because of injuries that derailed his tenure in Norman. That is not to say he wasn’t an exceptional talent at Oklahoma, as he did earn second team All-Big XII honors (and he could’ve been first team if he had started/been at close to 100% the entire year). Anderson being invited to the NFL Combine shows that despite his unfortunate timing with injuries, he is still a commodity.

Anderson’s Story

Anderson previously missed the majority of the 2015 season (broken non-weight-bearing bone in leg) and the entirety of the 2016 campaign (neck injury), but he was finally able to burst onto the scene in 2017. 1161 rushing yards on 6.2 yards per carry later, he entered the 2018 season with a ton of hope. His incredible athleticism made him a total package in both the running game and the passing game, and he was arguably the most dangerous offensive weapon in the country before his collegiate career was derailed by a serious leg injury in OU’s game against UCLA. In fact, he might have been one of the most complete backs we’ve seen in Norman. He was that good in that small of a sample size.

However, it’s somewhat fortunate that the three injuries are different in nature — meaning that there isn’t necessarily a chronic issue that will plague him in the future. He has also demonstrated an ability to recover quickly and return stronger, so I don’t think there’s much doubt that he could do quite well at the next level if he just has better luck.

NFL Combine Results

Bench Press: 25 reps

According to NFL scouts’ reports, Rodney Anderson reminds them of Stevan Ridley, a pretty solid comparison. The overall view of Anderson was that he’s a very fluid and rhythm based runner with a powerful base to plant, stiff arm, and run through tackles; His pass catching abilities caught the eyes of the Scouts as well. However, although fluid in his hips, scouts reported that Anderson lacks twitch, elusiveness, and there is a general fear of his college injuries being a trend, not isolated incidents.

Draft Projection

Since Rodney declared to enter the NFL Draft in order to capitalize on his career ahead of him, he has been a solid figure in the middle rounds, most notably the fourth round projected by NFL Scouts. At the NFL Combine, Anderson was given a rating of 5.63, meaning he has a chance to become an NFL Starter in the correct system (ahem, Denver Broncos). Walter Football has rated Rodney as the No. 21 Running Back going into the draft while CBS Sports has labeled the Oklahoma ball carrier as the No. 9 running back. That’s quite a bit of shakiness regarding evaluations, much of it due to Anderson’s injury history. If you would like to read more into what NFL Scouts evaluated when studying Rodney Anderson, you can access the report here:

Rodney Anderson Highlights