How is Will Anderson Jr. doing in the Defensive Player of the Year race?

Will Anderson Jr. is making waves for the Houston Texans but is he making enough noise to be considered for the Defensive Player of the Year Award?
Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans
Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Will Anderson Jr. was someone the Houston Texans had high hopes for. Clearly. They traded up to get him in the 2023 NFL Draft, giving up their first and second-round picks in 2023, as well as their first and third-round picks in 2024 to the Arizona Cardinals to draft Will Anderson Jr. at No. 3 overall. They also got back the 105th overall pick in the process.

With that much capital invested in one player, you'd hope he was putting up all-world numbers, but as it stands right now, Anderson is not producing megastar-level stats. In fact, one could argue he's been fine, maybe even good, but not much else. He only has three sacks on the season, and while he's been valuable to the team against the run, he's been lackluster everywhere else.

He's been truly great against the run, but his pass-rush game is subpar at times. It's gotten so bad that despite the third overall pick being vaunted for his skillset, he's made no impression on a number of opposing offense's pass attacks. In fact, many quarterbacks don't need their jerseys cleaned after playing the Texans. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Trevor Lawrence are among those to not need dry cleaning after facing the Texans.

The Jags only had to do with two shots on their quarterback, far below the league average for a game and a lot of that has to do with Anderson just not getting to the quarterback. Yet, despite that, many people still have him as the third most likely player to win the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.

The top dog remains the Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Carter, but despite a hot start, he's trailed off and his grip on the throne is weakening. The Seattle Seahawks' Devin Weatherspoon is also in the running, and may surpass Carter any week now as the favorite for the award.

If Anderson can string together several good games, he could easily leapfrog both men.

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