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Three Texans players land on PFF’s top players under 25

C.J. Stroud is already a superstar after one season.

Will Anderson Jr. might be the league’s next great pass-rusher.

Derek Stingley Jr. could transform from a rising star to an elite shutdown corner.

What do these three Houston Texans players have in common besides being teammates? Each one appeared on Pro Football Focus’ top players under 25 entering the 2024 season.

Stroud, the league’s reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year, appeared at No. 7 on the list and was the second quarterback listed. Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence took the top spot, though PFF made it clear the margin of difference between the two is slim.

Stroud burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2023 as one of the most promising quarterbacks in the NFL. Out of 95 rookie quarterbacks who have played at least 100 snaps in their first season since 2006, Stroud’s 83.1 PFF overall grade ranks fourth.

While Stroud’s 4,108 passing yards ranked eighth in the NFL as he led the Texans into the playoffs, 59.0% of that total came before the catch, which ranked third in the NFL.

Anderson, who broke J.J. Watt’s rookie sack record with seven QB takedowns, appeared at No. 14. Much like Stroud, he ranked second among defensive ends, trailing only Detroit’s Aidan Hutchinson.

Although Anderson’s first NFL season was slowed down by an ankle injury, it did not stop him from earning Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

Anderson stood out not just among 2023’s rookies, as his 16.7% pressure rate ranked first among all rookie edge defenders over the past four seasons.

Stingley, who totaled five interceptions in 11 games, cracked the list at No. 23 following a promising first year as the Texans’ lead defensive back. When healthy. Stingley’s shown his ability to remain consistent in coverage, but back-to-back lower-body ailments have hindered his progression.

Stingley’s first season was somewhat disappointing and cut short due to injuries, and despite some injuries in 2023, too, he showed why he was the first cornerback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Stingley’s 85.3 PFF coverage grade tied for the fifth highest among all cornerbacks in 2023, as he allowed just a 74.3 passer rating.

While rookie phenom Tank Dell earned the league’s respect with over 700 receiving yards in seven games, it’s hard to leave a spot open for him given the pass-catchers listed in the top 25. Ja’Marr Chase (No. 4), Garrett Wilson (No. 9), Amon-Ra St. Brown (No. 11) and Chris Olave (No. 23) all finished with over 1,000 yards in back-to-back years. Puka Nacua (No. 12) finished with a rookie record-setting 105 catches for 1,486 yards. 

Nico Collins could have made the cut if it was 2023, but the fourth-year receiver turned 25 earlier this offseason. Linebacker Christian Harris might have flirted with an honorable mention nod after a breakout season, but no linebacker made the initial 25-man list entering the season. 

Perhaps this time next season Houston features a few more names alongside Dell and Harris. Early contenders include second-round cornerback Kamar Lassiter, third-round defensive back Calen Bullock, and fourth-round tight end Cade Stover. 

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire