For the second consecutive season, teammates won the Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the year awards.
Houston Texans edge rusher Will Anderson snagged the Associated Press 2023 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award Thursday night at NFL Honors, joining teammate C.J. Stroud, who was named the top offensive rookie earlier in the evening.
Stroud and Anderson are the fourth teammates to win the awards in NFL History, joining the 1967 Lions, 2017 Saints and 2022 Jets.
Anderson earned 151 points to win the award, ahead of Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter (122), Rams defensive tackle Kobie Turner (95) and Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon (57). Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr., Buccaneers linebacker YaYa Diaby and Lions cornerback Brian Branch all finished with six points.
The Texas traded up to snag Anderson with the No. 3 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, viewing the Alabama product as a building block for DeMeco Ryans' defense.
Anderson didn't disappoint.
The pass rusher proved a menace off the edge, generating seven sacks (fourth-most among rookies), 45 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss, and 22 QB hits, most among rookies. Anderson generated 64 QB pressures and a whopping 17.3% pressure rate, both tops in his class.
Anderson used a quick first step to blow by offensive tackles. His 0.76 get-off rate was by far top among rookies, per Next Gen Stats, and ranked tied for sixth among all players (minimum 200 pass rush snaps).
Anderson's campaign netted him a Pro Bowl nod, becoming the seventh defensive rookie drafted in the top three to make the Pro Bowl since 1970. All seven have won Defensive Rookie of the Year.
During the Pro Bowl Games, Anderson told NFL.com’s Grant Gordon that winning DROY was on his to-do list entering the season.
"It was on my goal sheet, 100 percent," Anderson said. "It was marked big on my goal sheet: NFL Defensive Rooke of the Year. Just to be in this position is a blessing."
Anderson became the third Texans player to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, joining his coach, DeMeco Ryans, in 2006 and linebacker Brian Cushing in 2009.
When the Texans leaped up to the No. 3 slot to select Anderson behind Stroud, the belief was that the edge rusher would immediately boost the profile of Ryans' defense. The cost was high -- four draft picks including two first-rounders -- but it wound up looking like a brilliant move.
Anderson surged down the stretch, generating four sacks in a five-game run from Weeks 9-13. An ankle injury suffered in Week 14 knocked him out two games, but immediately upon his return, Anderson generated two sacks in Week 17 against Tennessee. The rookie's play helped Houston cement an AFC South title.
In the postseason demolition of the Cleveland Browns, Anderson generated a sack and a team-high seven QB pressures to go along with three tackles and a stuff. He added four more QB pressures in the Divisional Round loss to Baltimore.
Helping the Texans to win their first division title since 2019, going from worst to first, Anderson showed he's a foundational piece who is just beginning to scratch the surface. A bigger Year 2 leap could await in 2024.