When thinking of a dominant NFL edge rusher the commonly used metric is the amount of sacks they have accrued. After all, sacks are plays that can significantly disrupt an offense, alter opposing game plans, and completely flip momentum in one’s favor.
It is important to note however that sacks do not often tell the full story of how disruptive a defender can be. Houston Texans rookie Will Anderson Jr. is the perfect example of this.
Through five games, the rookie edge rusher has only accrued one sack to go along with his 14 total tackles and a blocked kick. On the surface, this may not look like a stat line to admire but the advanced metrics tell a different tale.
As first reported by Jordan Pun of The 33rd Team, Anderson Jr. ranks inside the top five in four key categories; pass rush win rate, double team rate, run stop win rate, and double team rate. In the last two categories listed, the rookie tops the list among all NFL edge defenders.
For a 22-year-old just getting his feet wet in the NFL, this level of output shows his massive potential down the line and immediate dominance for an improved Texans defensive line. Heading into the 2023-2024 season, the secondary was widely regarded as the strength of Houston’s defense.
While that much remains true, the defensive line is massively improved due largely to the impact of the third overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. Trading up and selecting two players within the top five was considered a huge flight risk but with the way Anderson Jr. has been lighting it up, many see now why the Texans were so eager to acquire him at any cost.
It is a move that is turning out favorably so far for the Houston Texans.