Ah, draft season! I love draft season. The strategy, the new players, the ceremony, the reshaping of (some of the) 32 teams.
I also love defensive players, and we’re looking at a real winner in this piece: Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen. It isn’t a secret that the Broncos could use another linebacker in their scheme.
First off, is Troy Andersen really a linebacker, or is he a quarterback? Is he a running back? A safety? The short answer is, he’s all of the above. He’s even a punter when you need him to be.
In other words, Andersen is easily one of the most versatile players coming up in the draft and I’m so here for it.
When you hear 245 lbs. with 4.42 speed coming at you...Troy Andersen pic.twitter.com/au2SBR6ziH— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) April 6, 2022
Weight: 243 lbs
Arms: 32.1 (ish)
Wingspan: 77 and 5/8
Broad jump: 128 inches
Vertical jump: 36 inches
The Beaverhead County High school graduate got off to a fire start, playing both the safety and quarterback positions, and helping lead the team to two Class A titles (his junior and senior years). They won the 2016 championship. Besides the football, Andersen also earned state titles in the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash.
Let’s take a look at his Montana State Bobcats history. In Freshman year (2017), he had five rushing TDs (running back position), one receiving touchdown (running back position), an nine tackles, one of those for a loss (linebacker position). He was Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year AND Freshman All-American.
Sophomore year (2018), he started 11/13 games as quarterback. Anderson completed 21 rushing touchdowns, an MSU record. He received the distinctions of Third Team All-America, FCS Sophomore of the Year, Sophomore All-America, and MSU’s All-Big Sky quarterback.
He played the linebacker and fullback positions in his Junior year (2019) and made 54 tackles 6.5 sacks, five passes broken up, and an interception. This past season he played 15 games with 147 tackles (14 for loss), two sacks, two interceptions, and seven passes defended. He also made some memorable plays in the Senior Bowl.
All in all, you’ll find passing, rushing, receiving, punting, and defensive statistics on his MSU profile.
As an NFL Prospect
Even with playing for a smaller college, Andersen has the scouts’ attention. A lot of people are projecting mid-second or early third round, but I wouldn’t be completely shocked if someone snatched him in the first.
His combination of strength, height, and top-notch speed are almost impossible to find. He’s also a good blitzer, and when he reads a play, he’s all over it.
Troy hasn’t been in the linebacker position for very long, and sometimes this translates in the way he takes blocks or tries to read the zone. He also struggles with the downhill sometimes.
I think with some fine-tuning in this position he’d be an asset, he just needs more time and training. I would too, if I played fifty different positions and did all of them successfully.
The only other thing I’d worry about is injuries. He’s had a few over the years, including wrist, shoulders, and knee.
What analysts are saying
Jim Nagy, Senior Bowl Executive Director
“All the speed data is really going to help him. You saw a fast guy on tape, you saw a guy that can close, but now having that data, which is more important than a 40-yard dash in shorts and a t-shirt...The fact that this guy can carry his pads and play at that speed is really going to help him.” (per 406mtsports.com)
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network analyst
“He’s going to find his way into the second round. The tape, the Senior Bowl and what that just was right there, he’s made some money.”
Sam Herder, Hero Sports analyst
“I’ve never seen a player like Andersen before in the FCS. To go from a running back/linebacker hybrid to a running quarterback to a LB/Wildcat QB hybrid, to a full-time middle linebacker is wild. To do each one at a high level makes it even more remarkable. As cliche as it is, he’s just a ‘football player’ that has that ability to shine and make his presence known all over the field.”
Of course it depends on which positions GM George Paton will be prioritizing this year. With the LB being a need and with the Broncos having one pick in the second round (64th overall)/two picks in the third round (#75, #96), I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of seeing Andersen on the team. That being said, another organization could easily snatch him up first. We’re pretty far down the line for grabbing players.
As with anything going into this draft, my speculations are just speculations and will be completely worthless when it actually starts. I just think that if Andersen is still there when our turn comes, we’d do well to take him.
Merry Christmas — er, I mean, Happy Draft Week!