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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Mark Lane

Texans DE Jerry Hughes details how Will Anderson has been impressive

The Houston Texans won’t put on pads until the fifth day of training camp, but rookie defensive end Will Anderson showcased his smarts, toughness, and physicality throughout organized team activities and mandatory minicamp.

Defensive end Jerry Hughes, 34, is pleased to be reining a youngster in rather than crafting ways to motivate him.

“That’s something you really love to see early on where you have to pull him back versus encouraging him to kind of be aggressive, trying to get him to use different techniques,” Hughes told reporters June 14 at minicamp. “He’s here early, getting in with all the coaches. That’s what you want to see from a young player, someone who is eager to learn and doing all the right things early on.”

The Texans took Anderson with the No. 3 overall pick from Alabama. The 6-4, 243-pounder terrorized off the edge for the Crimson Tide, earning two Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. However, it isn’t Anderson’s play that has impressed Hughes throughout offseason workouts.

Said Hughes: “His intelligence. Just how smart he is as a young guy. Not afraid to sit in the front of the classroom, ask questions, be repetitive so he can make sure he understands what the coaches are asking him to go out there and perform and do. I think that’s just key. He has all of the physical tools to go out there and be a freak of nature and wreak havoc for four quarters. But now, when you’re at this level, it’s about mental, how can you attack opponents, how can you keep them guessing what you’re doing.”

Hughes, a former 2010 Indianapolis Colts first-round pick, noted that the best players in the NFL are at a high level, “when people can’t really get a read or beat on what you’re getting ready to do.”

The Texans have not had a player with double-digit sacks since J.J. Watt in 2018 with 16.0. Houston has never had a rookie go over the 10-sack threshold.

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