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Will Anderson says it would “mean a lot” to go No. 1 overall to the Bears

Will Anderson Jr. tells his best Nick Saban story and how he eventually earned the fiery head coach's respect, shares how he ended up with the Crimson Tide as a Georgia native, and how he’ll be a leader in the NFL.

Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson has met with seven teams so far at the NFL Scouting Combine. He won’t last until the seventh selection.

Anderson is expected to be the first non-quarterback off the board on draft day.

“It means a lot,” Anderson said Wednesday. “That just shows all your hard work has been paying off. All the sacrifices, blood, sweat and tears you’ve been doing to get up into this moment, it’s super exciting, and it’s a blessing.”

The Bears are one of the teams Anderson has spent time with this week. They hold the No. 1 selection and aren’t expected to draft a quarterback, so if they don’t trade the pick, Anderson could be their choice.

“It would mean a lot,” Anderson said. “Just all my hard work paying off, and just to have that spot, it’s big time and I’ll be really appreciative if I do have that opportunity.”

Anderson also spoke highly about the Texans, who hold the No. 2 choice, and the Cardinals, who are third. He isn’t likely to last beyond the third pick.

Anderson is in a strong class of edge rushers, but he tops the list.

In 2021, as a sophomore, he led the nation in sacks (17.5) and tackles for loss (34.5) in winning the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. He finished his career with 34.5 sacks and 62 tackles for loss and was the first player in Crimson Tide history to become a two-time Unanimous All-American.

“All these guys are great -- very athletic, can pass rush,” Anderson said of the class of edge rushers. “I’m super excited. All the work has been good. I feel like what I bring to the table -- just consistency, being humble, whatever culture I’m in, I’m going to do things the right way -- I think that’s what sets me apart.”

Anderson said he plans to do “just about everything” at the combine. He’s in the linebacker group, which works out Thursday.