Texans DE Will Anderson Jr. says his goal before 2023 was to win Rookie of the Year

Houston Texans defensive end Will Anderson Jr. had lofty expectations after being taken with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft.

After an impressive career at Alabama, many believed he could win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Anderson believed that was a possibility, too, and told at the Pro Games this past week that winning the award was on his “goal sheet” this year.

“It was marked big on my goal sheet: NFL Defensive Rooke of the Year,” Anderson said. “Just to be in this position is a blessing.”

He’s a finalist to win the award after he finished the year with seven sacks, 45 combined tackles, 10 tackles for a loss and a rookie-leading 22 quarterback hits. Anderson already won the PFWA Defensive Rookie of the Year award as well, which has oftentimes indicated the winner of the Associated Press version of the award.

Anderson would be the third Texans player to win Defensive Rookie of The Year, alongside Brian Cushing (2019) and current Houston head coach DeMeco Ryans (2006). Anderson’s 2023 classmate, quarterback C.J. Stroud, is also a finalist for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and won the PFWA award.

If the two both win, they’d become the third pair from the same team to take home both awards since 2017. Wide receiver Garrett Wilson and cornerback Sauce Gardner won it for the New York Jets in 2022 and running back Alvin Kamara and cornerback Marshon Lattimore won it for the New Orleans Saints in 2017.

“Yeah, I think it would be great,” Anderson said about him and Stroud both winning awards. “It would be very special just to have that type of history going into Texas, but more so for the city and the team.”

The awards will be announced at NFL Honors on Thursday in Las Vegas ahead of Super Bowl LVIII.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire