2020 NFL Draft Profile: Bradlee Anae

Bradlee Anae

#4 Overall Defensive End by Football Addicts

Born: 1998 (22 Years Old)

Height: 6’3

Weight: 265 Lbs

Position: Defensive End/Edge

University: Utah

About Bradlee

Bradlee Anae grew up in Laie, Hawaii, where he would enjoy his free time jumping off cliffs, and literally swimming with sharks as a kid on the island. Anae was a multi-sport athlete at Kahuku High School; playing on the basketball team and track and field squad as well as being a 3-star football recruit. He helped the Red Raiders win a 1A State Championship and played in the 2015 Polynesian All-American Bowl. After receiving offers from Vanderbilt and BYU, Anae would commit to the Utes on Feb. 3rd, 2016. 

Even though he would see action in six games, Anae’s production was very minuscule as a freshman. He would finish with four tackles, and two sacks on the season. As a sophomore Bradlee would become a full time starter, and obviously receive a lot more reps in that role. In 2017 Anae would be rated as one of the two best edge defenders in the Pac-12 according to Pro Football Focus. He finished with 39 tackles, 10 for a loss, seven sacks (leading Utah), and three forced fumbles. The Utes went 7-6, making it to the Heart of Dallas Bowl vs West Virginia.

After an impressive sophomore year, Anae would comeback as one of the best defensive ends in the Pac-12. He would lead the Pac-12 in sacks with 8, and finish with 51 tackles and 15.5 tackles for a loss. As you could guess, Bradlee would be named First Team All Pac-12 at the end of the season. Utah would go on to be 9-5 on the season, and win the Pac-12 South. They would lose to Washington, and accept their invitation to play in the Holiday Bowl vs Northwestern.

Utah would build off their strong year before, and become a true playoff contender this season. The Utes would go 11-3 on the season, winning the Pac-12 South again, but this time being upset against Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship. Bradlee would put together a First Team All American performance in 2019, finishing with 41 tackles, 14 for a loss, and 13 sacks. At the end of the season Anae was awarded the Morris Trophy given to the best defensive lineman in the Pac-12. During the Alamo Bowl vs Texas, Bradlee became Utah’s all time leading sack leader in school history. He would continue the hot streak of his senior year going into the Senior Bowl. Anae left Mobile with the 2nd highest grade given out by Pro Football Focus for the group at the Senior Bowl.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

Great pass rusher. I prefer him with his hand in the ground rather than rushing out of his two point stance. His get off is lightning fast with a hand in the dirt, I would argue that he has the best timing off the ball in the draft. Strong at the point of attack, and throws all types of power moves at tackles.  Does do a good job and moving with the play and avoiding offensive linemen. Used a spin move against Penei Sewell, my top prospect in 2021, that knocked him off his balance and forced Herbert to move from the pocket. Over his career with the Utes, Anae was able to create five forced fumbles, and recover two himself. His knack for causing turnovers is something that NFL teams will love, especially with how popular the strip sack has become. 

Weaknesses

While he does cause a lot of problems for tight ends in the run game, he isn’t the best run defender. Utah asks him to set the edge and that’s what he does, but rarely do you see him going for the running back. When rushing from the standing position he can lose his leverage and get washed out of the play. Justin Herbert was able to put some moves on him and run against him. 

He could work on wrapping up when tackling, too many times you see him just miss the ankles of the ball carrier.  He has a really nice rip move, but I would like to see him go to it more often. Anae doesn’t have the speed to be a true outside linebacker, and would struggle in the flats and coverage with receivers.

NFL Draft Projection/NFL Player Comp

NFL Draft Projection

Anae had a really going showing at the Senior Bowl, and was basically un-guardable. If he can perform better than expected at the NFL Combine, then we might be able to see him sneak into the late 1st round. Currently I have Anae as my 41st overall prospect on my latest NFL Draft Big Board. 

I have him falling a little due to team fit, but I have the Buffalo Bills selecting Bradlee 54th overall. The Bills like to use a platoon of edge rushers throughout the game, and they are in need to revamp the platoon a little. Shaq Lawson had his 5th year declined, and will become a free agent, and Jerry Hughes is only getting older. Anae is a physical end that will not just fill a need, but fit the team’s toughness overall.

NFL Player Comp

Anae is a pass rusher that can rush standing, or with his hand in the ground, but has his best chance at becoming a starter if used as a 3-4 rush linebacker. Watching his tape, Anae reminds me of a mixture of Aaron Lynch and Robert Quinn. Lynch is someone I think could be a tad more realistic, with the upside of Robert Quinn. Both players are really just known for their pass rush ability, and have had their flashes of production in the NFL. Bradlee will be a fun piece to use if he falls into a defense that can use him properly.

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