The Redskins' coaching staff is confident in Anthony Lanier's abilities and believe that the 23-year-old has the makeup to be a playmaker along the defensive line.
After going undrafted his rookie season, defensive end Anthony Lanier is entering into his second year with great prospect and anticipation.
The 6-foot-6 defensive end was a standout last offseason and showed impressive performances throughout the preseason, recording his first sack with the Redskins in a 22-18 preseason win over the New York Jets.
While there were more touted players above him on the unofficial depth chart, Lanier climbed the ladder, and like running back Robert Kelley was able to grab a spot on the 53-man roster despite not hearing his name called at the 2016 NFL Draft.
However, it wasn't until Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals in London that Lanier would be active in a regular season NFL game. And the Alabama A&M didn't disappoint, recording a key fumble recovery in a 27-27 tie.
While Lanier only appeared in four regular season games before being placed on Injured Reserve in December, the arrow is pointing up for the 23-year-old.
"He was a guy that was one of the most difficult for our guys to block," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said this week at the annual NFL League Meetings in Phoenix. "He was not a very natural rusher, either. He was doing it on pure power, length. And I think the more he works coming out of his stance, getting off on the snap count, hand usage, all the things Coach Tomsula worked with him, I think he's got a chance to be really, really good."
While Lanier's potential was evident in his limited action, he's continuing to grow entering his second season.
He's reportedly added mass to his young frame, as Gruden said that Lanier is around 290 pounds right now. Knowing how his body functions for an NFL offseason will be important.
Last offseason was all about impressing the coaching staff with every single snap he received. Now more established, Lanier says he can "sit back and I can drive this thing."
"I expect to come back next year and I expect to be one of the most dominant people out there," Lanier said in January. "That's just my plan. Period."
And the skills that could allow him to dominate are those that aren't exactly coachable. They're natural.
"He has that juice, that wiggle, that waggle and I'm excited for him," defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. "Right now he is 290 and I think last year he was in the 270s. The world is right in front of him and he could pick it up and really excel at it. He will be in backup positions and he will be in our system in the third down situations."