The 2020 NFL Draft is over, and the Dallas Cowboys came away as one of the winners of this year’s edition. After stealing receiver CeeDee Lamb with the 17th overall pick, the argument can be made that Cowboys also stole corner Trevon Diggs in the second as well as corner Reggie Robinson and Center Tyler Biabasz in the fourth. However, the biggest shocker of day three was that Utah edge rusher Bradlee Anae was still on board in the fifth round, and like a thief in the night, the Cowboys snagged the Pac-12 legend and added much-needed perimeter pass rush help.
Anae was buried on the Utes depth chart as a freshman as he only amassed four tackles and two sacks in six games. His sophomore season in 2017 would be a lot different as he became a starter and finished with 39 tackles (10 tackles for loss), seven sacks, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. As a junior in 2018, Anae took his game to another level by registering 51 tackles (15.5 tackles for loss), eight sacks, three pass breakups, and a forced fumble while garnering first-team All-Pac 12 honors. His senior season would be a continuation of the previous year as Anae racked up 41 tackles (14 tackles for loss), 13 sacks, and a forced fumble. He would be named first-team All Pac 12 for the second consecutive season as well as a Consensus first-team All-American for 2019.
Anae ranks fourth all-time in Pac 12 history with 30 sacks.
What does Anae bring to the Cowboys defense?
Anae is an absolute technician with his hands when you watch his film. He uses a very aggressive chop to keep offensive tackles hands off of him along with a dip and rip move that allows him to constantly pressure the quarterback. He routinely found himself making plays behind the line of scrimmage with over 40 tackles for loss in his four seasons at Utah. He’s a very violent tackler with a non-stop motor when it comes to pursuing plays. Anae can put his hand in the ground and rush from the edge in a 4-3 or he can play outside linebacker in a 3-4. This is a perfect fit for the Cowboys defense in 2020 which will use multiple 4-3/3-4 looks to keep teams off balance. Simply put, Anae is a very movable chess piece in the Cowboys front seven.
Watch “Pac-12 DEFENSIVE LINEMAN Of the YEAR 😈 || Utah DE Bradlee Anae Highlights ᴴᴰ” on YouTube
It’s not every day a Consensus All-American edge rusher falls to you in the fifth round of the draft. Anae provides instant help along with soon to be reinstated defensive ends Randy Gregory and Aldon Smith coming off the right edge to complement DeMarcus Lawrence on the left side. Expect to see this guy on the field early causing havoc for opposing offenses.