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2015 NFL DRAFT
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Joe Anoai

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 303 | College: Georgia Tech
 
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Overview

The unquestioned defensive leader, the Yellow Jackets' team captain is a throwback to an old era when defensive tackles simply controlled the action in the middle of the field. Blessed with good quickness and strength, wrestling quarterbacks and ball carriers to the ground certainly comes natural for Anoai, whose family features some of the most renowned athletes in the history of professional wrestling.

His father, Leati, known in the mat circles as Sika, joined his uncle, Afa, in forming the tag team called the "Wild Samoans," and the duo was recently inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame. All three of his uncle's sons, Samu, Afa, Jr. and Lloyd, are wrestlers, and Afa's daughter, Monica, is married to wrestler Gary Albright.

Joe's brother, Rosey, joined the "family business," which also includes other relatives like Rodney "Yokozuna" Anoa'i, Sam "Tama" Fatu, Solofa "Rikishi" Fatu, Jr., Eddie "Umaga" Fatu and Matt "RO'Z" Anoa'i. Other family members who wrestled include Peter Maivia, Toa Maivia, Rocky Johnson, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Jimmy Snuka, Jimmy Snuka, Jr. and Reno "Black Pearl" Anoa'i. In addition, Joe's cousin, Afa Anoai, plays football at Connecticut.

Anoai was rated the 80th-best player in Florida by BorderWars as a senior at Escambia High School. He added second-team All-State Class 5-A honors from the Florida Sports-writers Association and was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Pensacola News Journal.

The first-team All-Northwest Florida choice recorded 120 tackles as a senior, with 12 sacks, six forced fumbles and two interceptions. He spent his first three seasons at Pensacola Catholic High School, where he posted 96 tackles and six sacks as a junior.

Anoai enrolled at Georgia Tech as a 235-pound defensive end in 2003. He played in 11 games as a reserve that season, posting eight tackles (five solos) with a sack and three stops for losses. He also caused two fumbles, but was bothered earlier in the year by a left shoulder stinger that forced him to miss one game.

Having added 20 pounds to his frame during the off-season, Anoai took over right tackle duties, starting 12 games in 2004. He played with a nagging right shoulder injury that required surgery after the season, but managed to deliver 34 tackles (17 solos) with 3.5 sacks and 11 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also caused a fumble and deflected two passes.

In 2005, Anoai continued to grow. Now up to 275 pounds, he started 11 games at right tackle, collecting 26 tackles (16 solos), but was bothered the second half of the year by a left ankle sprain. He added three sacks and 6.5 stops for losses.

As a senior, Anoai's frame developed to 300 pounds. The team captain earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team honors, as he made a career-high 40 tackles (23 solos). He registered 4.5 sacks with nine stops behind the line of scrimmage and also recovered a pair of fumbles.

In 48 games at Georgia Tech, Anoai started 37 contests. He recorded 108 tackles (61 solos) with 12 sacks for minus-85 yards and 29.5 stops for losses of 126 yards. He recovered four fumbles and recovered another while also deflecting three passes.

Analysis

Positives: Continues to add bulk and muscle tone to his once lanky frame, showing good chest thickness, long arms, large and strong hands, long and thick legs and still has room on his frame to add more bulk … Plays until the whistle and has improved his overall strength base (no longer gets engulfed by the bigger blockers) … More of a straight-line charger, as he lacks change of direction agility, but has the short-area burst to pressure the pocket … Still lacks explosion off the snap, but has greatly improved his hand usage and it was rare to see a blocker reach him in 2006 … Needs to improve his read-and-react skills, as he will lose sight of the ball due to height and vision issues, but once he sees the play develop, he shows urgency to close … Learned as a senior how to keep his pad level down and he had better success vs. double teams by doing so, compared to previous struggles his first three years … When he keeps his pad level down, he plays with better leverage and will win one-on-one battles … Efficient wrap-up tackler working in-line, doing a nice job of facing up and then drilling the ball carrier when given the opportunity … Will struggle to turn coming off the edge, but showed better counter moves to slip off blockers in attempts to penetrate in 2006 (more of a pocket pusher than a sack artist, though) … Does not stay blocked for long when he shoots his hands, but needs to do it with better consistency … Lacks a fast burst to close on the quarterback, but still shows determination to make the play … More effective shooting the gaps as a senior, as he seemed to have a better feel for the snap count … Plays with his head up and hands inside the frame work to counter the blocker's moves … Has enough speed to fill in at defensive end in goal-line situations.

Negatives: Has had some minor durability issues in the past … Has natural strength, but needs to improve his overall power base (lacks stoutness at the point of attack) … Not the most instinctive lineman around, looking hesitant in locating the ball in trash and is sometimes late of the ball, taking too long to digest the action in front of him … When he gets too tall in his stance, he leaves his chest exposed and is then washed out on the play … Struggles vs. double teams, especially when he gets too erect at the point of attack (standing tall narrows his base) … Best when waiting for plays to come to him, as he lacks the lateral range to make plays on the move or seal the deal in back-side pursuit (effort is there, production is lacking) … Has started to gain confidence in his hands, but will still revert to leaning and pushing, using his body too much in attempts to bull rush … Needs a clear lane to the quarterback, as he doesn't have redirection agility to get back in the action when he out-runs the play … Lacks pass rush moves and won't ever be feared as a defender who can consistently collapse the pocket.

Compares To: CORNELIUS GRIFFIN-Washington … Even though he has added more than 65 pounds to his frame since his freshman year, Anoai still needs to improve his power base. He is a high energy type who just lacks that instinctive feel for the flow of the ball. He is best when occupying multiple blockers at the line of scrimmage, as he doesn't have the range to make plays in space. He lacks pass rush moves and, while he improved his hand usage as a senior, he must develop a stronger punch to shock and jolt. He might just be another "part of the rotation" type of contributor, but he doesn't appear to be a potential down-the-road type of starter.

Career Notes

Ranks 14th on the school's all-time record list with 12 sacks … His 29.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage rank 13th on Tech's career record chart.

2006 Season

All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team selection … The team captain led a defensive unit that held eight opponents to one touchdown or less during the season and was a key performer on a Tech defense that ranked ninth in the nation in pass efficiency defense and 20th in rushing defense … Recorded a career-high 40 tackles (23 solos) with 4.5 sacks for minus 36 yards, nine stops for losses of 46 yards and one quarterback pressure while starting all fourteen games at right defensive tackle … Recovered two fumbles and deflected one pass.

2006 Game Analysis

Notre Dame … Opened the season with six tackles (4 solos), beating offensive tackle Ryan Harris to sack QB Brady Quinn for a 17-yard loss.

Samford … Managed just one solo tackle.

Troy … Held to three stops (2 solos).

Virginia Tech and Miami … Had a pair of tackles in each game.

Maryland … Added three tackles, including a 4-yard sack of QB Sam Hollenbach.

North Carolina State … Followed with a 5-yard sack of QB Daniel Evans, a pass deflection and four tackles (2 solos).

North Carolina … Assisted on a sack of QB Joe Dailey and made a pair of tackles.

Duke … Recovered a fumble to set up a Tech field goal.

Georgia … Had another fumble recovery, 2.5 stops for losses of 7 yards and six tackles (4 solos).

Wake Forest (ACC Championship) … Sacked QB Riley Skinner for a 7-yard loss, had two stops behind the line of scrimmage and was credited with five tackles (4 solos).

West Virginia (Gator Bowl) … Tackled tailback Steve Slaton for a 2-yard loss and had three tackles in his final collegiate game.

2005 Season

Was a key performer on a Tech defense that ranked 13th in the nation vs. the run and in the Top 25 nationally in total defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense and turnover margin … Started eleven games at right defensive tackle, sitting out the Wake Forest clash after he suffered a left ankle sprain vs. Clemson the previous week … The injury would linger throughout the second half of the season, but did not require surgery …

Was limited in spring drills while recovering from January surgery to repair damage in his right shoulder … Recorded 26 tackles (16 solos) with three sacks for minus 25 yards and 6.5 stops for losses of 36 yards.

2005 Game Analysis

Made two key plays in Tech's win at 15th-ranked Auburn. In the first half, he sacked QB Brandon Cox for a 9-yard loss back to the Tech 41-yard line to take the Tigers out of field goal range. In the fourth quarter with Tech holding a 20-14 lead but Auburn at the Tech 34, he pressured Cox and hit his arm, leading to an interception by KaMichael Hall, helping Tech hold Auburn to just 50 yards rushing … Had two tackles and assisted on a sack of Joe Dailey vs. North Carolina … Posted five tackles, assisted on a sack and had 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage vs. Connecticut … Was in on four stops, including one for a 3-yard loss vs. North Carolina State … Posted five tackles (4 solos) with a 7-yard sack and two stops for minus 11 yards vs. Utah in the Emerald Bowl.

2004 Season

Took over right defensive tackle duties, starting twelve games, despite playing with a right shoulder injury that would require surgery after the season … Recorded 34 tackles (17 solos) with 3.5 sacks for minus 17 yards and eleven stops for losses of 34 yards … Batted away two passes and caused a fumble.

2004 Game Analysis

Had one of his best games in Tech's win at North Carolina State, when he recorded four tackles for loss, including one sack for 6 yards. He also had a season-high six tackles and helped Tech hold the Wolfpack to 57 yards rushing … Recorded two tackles for loss with one sack and a pass break-up vs. North Carolina … Had five tackles vs. Maryland and then five tackles and a sack vs. Duke, as the Tech defense allowed only 265 total yards in the two games … Started the Champs Sports Bowl vs. Syracuse at defensive end due to injury to Eric Henderson, but did not register any tackles.

2003 Season

Played in eleven games, missing the North Carolina contest with a left shoulder stinger … Recorded eight tackles (5 solos) with a 7-yard sack, three stops for minus 10 yards and two fumble recoveries … Had his most productive game in the Humanitarian Bowl with two fumble recoveries and two tackles for loss, including a sack, vs. Tulsa … Had a season-best three tackles with one stop for loss vs. Maryland … Added two tackles vs. Duke.

OFF-FIELD ISSUE

2002-Cited in June for community misconduct and was ordered to do community service.

Injury Report

2003: Did not play vs. North Carolina (11/15) due to a left shoulder stinger.

2005: Underwent right shoulder surgery in January … Suffered a left ankle sprain vs. Clemson (10/29), sitting out the next game vs. Wake Forest.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.99 in the 40-yard dash … 2.83 20-yard dash … 1.61 10-yard dash … 370-pound bench press … Bench pressed 225 pounds 23 times … 600-pound squat … 350-pound power clean … 4.57 20-yard shuttle … 7.32 three-cone drill … 33.5-inch vertical jump … 9'5" broad jump … 32 2/8-inch arm length … 11-inch hands … Right-handed … Wears contacts/glasses … 19/30 Wonderlic score.

Combine: Did not receive an invitation.

High School

Attended Escambia (Pensacola, Fla.) High School as a senior, playing football for head coach Ronnie Gilliland … Lettered his first three seasons at Pensacola Catholic High School … Rated the 80th-best player in Florida by BorderWars as a senior at Escambia High School … Added second-team All-State Class 5-A honors from the Florida Sportswriters Association and was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Pensacola News Journal … The first-team All-Northwest Florida choice recorded 120 tackles as a senior, with 12 sacks, six forced fumbles and two interceptions … Posted 96 tackles and six sacks as a junior.

Personal

Management major … Son of Patricia and Leati Anoai … His family has deep-rooted ties to professional wrestling. His father, Leati, known in the mat circles as Sika, joined his uncle, Afa, in forming the tag team called the "Wild Samoans," and the duo was recently inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame … All three of his uncle's sons, Samu, Afa, Jr. and Lloyd, are all wrestlers, and Afa's daughter, Monica, is married to wrestler Gary Albright …

Joe's brother, Rosey, joined the "family business," which also includes other relatives like Rodney "Yokozuna" Anoa'i, Sam "Tama" Fatu, Solofa "Rikishi" Fatu, Jr., Eddie "Umaga" Fatu and Matt "RO'Z" Anoa'i. Other family members who wrestled include Peter Maivia, Toa Maivia, Rocky Johnson, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Jimmy Snuka, Jimmy Snuka, Jr. and Reno "Black Pearl" Anoa'i … In addition, Joe's cousin, Afa Anoai, plays football at Connecticut … Born Leati Joseph Anoai (last name pronounced an-uh-WHY-ee) on 5/25/85 … Resides in Pensacola, Florida.

 
 

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