Meet Stephone Anthony, the New Orleans Saints’ newest linebacker
The New Orleans Saints closed out their first round of the 2015 NFL Draft by selecting stud inside linebacker Stephone Anthony at No. 31 overall, one of two picks the Black and Gold had Thursday night.
We’ve already introduced you to Andrus Peat, the Saints’ first pick, so who is Stephone Anthony?
Born and raised in Polkton, North Carolina, Anthony was a four-sport athlete (Peat was a three-sport) at Anson High School, starting all four years on the football team, playing power forward on the basketball team, catcher on the diamond and a sprinter on the track.
Stephone Anthony was a heavily recruited linebacker, choosing Clemson over schools like Florida and Virginia Tech. Before joining the Tigers, he was a USA Today and Parade first-team All-American as the No. 1 outside linebacker in the nation by ESPN.com and 247sports.com. He was ranked No. 24 overall in the nation and No. 3 at outside linebacker by Rivals, eventually becoming a dominant presence in the ACC.
Courtesy of ClemsonTigers.com:
He saw 292 snaps as a freshman, starting three games and finishing with 31 tackles, six sacks and a team-high two forced fumbles. In 2012, Anthony made seven starts, totaling 77 tackles, a sack, three pass breakups, a forced fumble and an interception.
As a junior, Stephone Anthony would go on to become a third-team All-ACC selection after racking up a team-high 131 tackles (13.5 for loss), four sacks and five passes defended in 13 starts.
But it was his senior year that proved Anthony to be the real deal after becoming a permanent team captain, a first-team All-ACC selection and a Butkus Award semifinalist. He led the Tigers with 90 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 11 quarterback pressures, one interception, four pass breakups and two forced fumbles in 12 starts.
But enough about his college achievements. What does Stephone Anthony bring to the New Orleans Saints?
The 6-foot-3, 243 pound ILB has the size, speed (top performer at combine with a 4.56 40-yards dash), strength and pursuit to be a force in the middle and cover the field from sideline to sideline. He can play the run and the pass – both were areas of weakness in New Orleans a season ago. His flexibility at both inside linebacker and outside was noted by Coach Sean Payton during the post-draft press conference Thursday night after the first round.
Anthony has the physical tools and motor to come in and compete immediately for a starting role with a great chance of long-term success at the next level. He was the leader of that stout Clemson defense and could come on to do the exact same thing in the Big Easy. It will certainly be interesting to see how the first rounder pans out — the talent is undeniable. The Who Dat Nation should be very excited about the Saints’ newest addition at linebacker.
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