HOUSTON – Houston Texans DE Will Anderson Jr. has been named the Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, the NFL announced tonight as part of the 13th Annual NFL Honors ceremony. Anderson is the third player in franchise history to claim the honor, joining DeMeco Ryans (2006) and Brian Cushing (2009).
Selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Anderson started in 13 games for the Texans, totaling 45 tackles including 10 tackles for loss, 67 pressures, 7.0 sacks, one pass defensed and one blocked field goal. Anderson's 7.0 sacks this season set a new franchise record for most sacks by a rookie in a single-season and his 67 pressures led all rookies in the NFL this year. Anderson's standout rookie season culminated with a Pro Bowl honor, becoming just the second defensive rookie in team history to be named to the Pro Bowl.
Anderson's best performance of the season came in the Week 13 win against Denver, in which he racked up five tackles (three solo), 2.0 sacks, four quarterback hits, two tackles for loss and one pass defensed, joining J.J. Watt and Jaelan Phillips as the only rookies to post this line since these stats were tracked. He made his presence felt on special teams in Week 3 at Jacksonville when he blocked a field goal, becoming the first Texans rookie to block a field goal since J.J. Watt in 2011.
Anderson joins Texans rookie QB C.J. Stroud, who was named the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, marking a Texans sweep of the top rookie awards. The Texans become the fourth team since 1967 to win both Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year in the same season, joining the 2022 New York Jets (WR Garrett Wilson, CB Sauce Gardner), the 2017 New Orleans Saints (RB Alvin Kamara, CB Marshon Lattimore) and the 1967 Detroit Lions (RB Mel Farr, CB Lem Barney).
Check out the best photos from Houston Texans photographer Zach Tarrant as he highlights the 2023 season of DE Will Anderson Jr. through the lens.