Scouting Report: New LB Anderson Has Versatility The Cowboys Value

IRVING, Texas – A quick look at James Anderson, the veteran linebacker the Cowboys signed Tuesday afternoon.

College: Virginia Tech  Height: 6-3 Weight:235

Drafted: Carolina Panthers, 3rd round 2006.

Spent time with: Carolina, Chicago, Tennessee and Atlanta.

Games scouted for report: Chicago, 2013 season. Dallas and Green Bay

  • Normally lines up as a strong side linebacker but has shown the ability to line up at any of the positions. Like him better when he can play off the line and flow to the ball.
  • Can play with some range. More awareness than speed or quickness. Is smart to see, then go. Runs well enough but don't always see that closing or short burst. If he is close he will tackle.
  • Good change of direction when the ball cuts backs on him. Plays with body control and balance.
  • Might be due to what he was taught with the Bears but took blocks on more with his shoulder than square. There were snaps where this caused him problems getting pushed wide.
  • Good hand use and placement, but not that shock to stop blockers in their tracks. Would have liked to have seen him anchor down better when the ball was right at him. Made more plays when he was on the move.
  • Very good wrap-up tackler. When he is in space he can bring the ball carrier down. Has had two years in his career where he had over a 100 tackles for the season. Is physical in this area of his game. Shows up here.
  • Effort and pursuit are a real plus. Smart player. Has a feel for where he needs to be.
  • Plays with instinct and awareness. There were snaps where the Packers tried to fool him with full flow and he was able to react back to get in on the play.
  • Played more zone coverage than he did man in these games. Was well aware to get his head around and pick up the crossers underneath. Drove hard on the balls that were thrown in front of him or to the flat. Not much wasted motion or movement on his drops. Without that burst and extended speed don't know how well he would function in man coverage.
  • Was a much better blitzer in the Dallas game than he was against Green Bay. Had a sack in the Cowboys game where he beat Joseph Randle one-on-one with a good swim move. Has 12 sacks in his career with four of those coming in 2013. Was quicker with better technique against Cowboys. Gave himself up too much against the Packers by rushing down the middle of the blocker and getting stuck.
  • Veteran player that has more game experience than guys like Cam Lawrence and Keith Smith. Has been a starter in this league for several years, which gives you stability at the linebacker spot. Appears to be in the mold of the type of linebackers they current have on the roster in their ability to play a couple of different spots. Is the type of player that is not going to make huge mistakes to cost you an opportunity to win. Capable of making plays.

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