Texans defensive end Will Anderson II, winner of the 2022 Lott IMPACT® Trophy, has been named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press, announced Thursday night at NFL Honors in Las Vegas.
Anderson is the third Lott IMPACT® Trophy winner to be a Defensive Rookie of the Year, and the first since Luke Kuechly in the 2012 season. The other is Anderson’s current head coach, DeMeco Ryans in 2006.
Anderson was selected third in the 2023 NFL draft out of the University of Alabama and went on to lead all NFL rookies in quarterback hits (22), with seven sacks, 45 tackles and 10 for a loss in his rookie campaign with Houston.
In a five-game stretch from Weeks 9-13, Anderson had four sacks before suffering an ankle injury that caused him to miss two games. Anderson then returned for week 17 where he made two sacks against Tennessee to help the Texans secure the AFC South title.
In the playoffs, Anderson led his team with seven QB pressures, to go with a sack and three tackles in the Texans 45-14 rout of Cleveland. Anderson added four QB pressures in Houston’s divisional round loss to Baltimore 34-10.
This is the second notable honor for Anderson, who was also named to the Pro Bowl. He was one of three former Lott Trophy winning Pro Bowlers, joining Josh Allen (2018) and Aidan Hutchinson (2021).