INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 22: Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans gets tackled by Jamaal Anderson #90 of the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of their game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 22, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
When the Cincinnati Bengals signed defensive end and former first round draft pick Jamaal Anderson earlier this offseason, opinion was mixed with the free agent addition. Some saw it as wasted money on a proven NFL bust, but others, including current Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko, looked at the player and his skillset and saw another perfect project for defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
Peko, when discussing the value the free agent brings to the Bengals, focused on Anderson as a physical specimen.
DT Domata Peko sees new DL Jamaal Anderson (Colts) as a perfect fit for the type of lineman defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer likes to employ. "He's (built) like Carlos (Dunlap) and Junior (Robert Geathers)," Peko said to Bengals.com. "Long, lean, and a real good athlete. He fits us."
Dunlap measures at 6-6 and 285 lbs, compared to Anderson's 6-7 inches, 269-pound frame. So Peko is right to point at the similarities between the two players (Geathers not so much: 6 foot 3 inches, 280 lbs). The question then is whether or not Anderson can match the production of Dunlap.
When healthy, Dunlap is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line, but it is precisely those health concerns which force Cincinnati to focus on depth on the defensive line. Hence, Jamaal Anderson. Anderson, often considered a bust, has struggled during his five seasons in the NFL. Yet if there is a man who can revitalize a career and develop unrealized talent, its Mike Zimmer (see: Reggie Nelson). Time will tell whether Anderson will improve or continue his career as a bust, but if you ask Domata Peko, he'd say that the Zimmer/Anderson pairing is a perfect match.