The Houston Texans may be looking at an all-time draft class if everything keeps going the way it has been. The Texans are 4-4 on the season, behind C.J. Stroud who is the clear and obvious front-runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year. He's been so dynamic that the team has been clearly elevated by his play to a large degree.
And after a five-touchdown performance last Sunday against the Tamp Bay Buccaneers, the Texans are riding high heading into their Week 10 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals started off slow but they've come on lately in a way that many didn't expect them to be able to do.
Now, the Texans have a tough task on their hands, and rookies like Stroud will have to continue to show their mettle against a tough out like the Bengals. But Stroud isn't the only rookie making headway this year. Nor is he the only rookie on the Texans looking at a Rookie of the Year Award.
Defensive end Will Anderson, who went one pick after Stroud in the first round (third overall), has been every bit as good as the team had hoped for. While he only has two sacks on the year, PFF claims he is among the better players on defense in the league currently. He has a PFF grade of 79.0, and he's consistently among the better and more reliable pass rushers each week.
And while he's a good, solid run-stopper, where he shines is his ability to stick a tackle and make it hurt. He's one of the best wrap-up tacklers in the league and is among the team's most reliable at bringing down the ball-carrier.
He does have stiff competition for the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award as opposed to Stroud, who is clearly leading that award at the moment, but Anderson is good, and good enough that he could overcome. Devon Witherspoon and Jalen Carter are having better seasons, admittedly, and surpassing them, specifically Carter, won't be easy.
But it is doable. Anderson just needs a few big games under his belt.