Henry Anderson’s initial introduction to the New England Patriots was, in a word, exhausting.
Before Anderson signed with the Patriots last week — and before he played against them six times in six seasons with the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts — the 29-year-old defensive lineman endured what he described as a grueling, New England-led workout at his Stanford pro day in 2015.
“I think it was (former Patriots director of player personnel) Nick Caserio,” Anderson recalled Monday during his introductory video conference. “We had a Patriots personnel guy running our drills at pro day. I about passed out on the field I was so tired. That’s honestly the main (contact I had with the Patriots before the draft). I was a third-round pick. I wasn’t super highly touted coming out of college, so I didn’t have a ton of interviews. …
“The one lasting memory was just that pro day, man. That was one of the more exhausted I’ve ever been in my life. They put us through the wringer. … That pro day, though. It still haunts me.”
The Colts wound up selecting Anderson with the 93rd overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. The Patriots proceeded to nab defensive ends with two of the next eight selections, taking Geneo Grissom at No. 97 and Trey Flowers at No. 101.
A sturdy run defender who can play a variety of positions along the defensive line, Anderson said he’s long admired the Patriots’ defense and believes he’ll be a good fit in New England.
“Their base is a 3-4, which I’ve been comfortable in,” he said. “That’s what I’ve played my entire career, and all throughout college, that’s the scheme that I was in. So I’m comfortable in a 3-4, and then just throughout my career, I’ve been asked to do a lot of different things across the line of scrimmage. I think that I should fit well in the scheme, and Coach (Bill) Belichick is one of the great defensive coaches, defensive minds in the history of the league, so it’s a great chance to play for a coach like that.”
Improving up front has been a clear offseason priority for New England, which ranked last in the NFL in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA last season. In addition to Anderson, the Patriots also have signed defensive tackles Davon Godchaux and Montravius Adams and re-signed defensive end Deatrich Wise.