Following the conclusion of the 2020 NFL draft, some draft analysts believed that one of the most underrated and best value picks was Bradlee Anae. He was chosen by the Dallas Cowboys with the 179th overall pick in the fifth round.
Luke Easterling of DraftWire had chosen Anae as Dallas' steal of the draft, and one of the best overall value picks.
The former Utah defensive end left the Utes as the program's all-time sack leader, a massive accomplishment considering the sort of talent Utah churns out every year. He finished his senior year as a consensus All-American and was awarded the Morris Trophy, given annually to the Pac-12's top defensive lineman.
“The Cowboys just drafted a consensus All-American pass rusher with a compensatory pick at the end of the fifth round. Hard to argue with that,” Dallas Cowboys writer Rob Phillips said following Anae's selection.
But ever since being chosen by the Cowboys, its been tough sledding for the former Utah great.
According to the Cowboys website, Anae has appeared just once in the seven games this season. He was also listed as inactive for their most recent game this past Sunday, a 25-3 loss to the Washington Football Team.
Things have now taken a turn for the better for Anae, as the Cowboys just completed a trade that sent defensive end Everson Griffen to the Detroit Lions. According to multiple sources, the Cowboys will receive "a conditional sixth-round draft pick in 2021 that could become a fifth-rounder."
Anae now moves into the backup role at right defensive end, playing behind starter Tyrone Crawford. The move also opens up the possibility of Randy Gregory seeing more action — but it does make Anae the team's fourth defensive end and a prime backup.
It's a big chance for Anae to prove that he's worthy of being that value pick. Physical and with great use of his hands, Anae racked up 13 sacks as a senior, 11 of which came on the right side against opposing left tackles.
It's a long road to get that sort of production again, but it appears that Anae will at the very least be given that opportunity.
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