The Houston Texans sure know how to draft defensive players. At the NFL Honors, the team crowned their third rookie player as Defensive Rookie of the Year, with Will Anderson Jr. taking home the honors this season. C.J. Stroud, a teammate of Anderson, won the Offensive Rookie of the Year, becoming the first Texans rookie to do so.
Anderson, however, joined a group that included his current head coach DeMeco Ryans, and former NFL linebacker Brian Cushing. Anderson joins pretty impressive company, as Cushing and Ryans are two of the best defensive players the team has ever had.
The two men would play most of their careers together, with Ryans coming into the league and winning the award in 2006, going to two Pro Bowls in his career, and racking up 636 tackles during his career with the Texans, before leaving in 2012 to go to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Cushing played his whole career in Houston, securing a Pro Bowl birth, alongside 664 tackles, and 13.5 sacks during his time with the team.
Anderson had 45 tackles, seven sacks, and a single Pro Bowl bid so far. And while all three men are known for winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award and going to at least one Pro Bowl, all three men pale in comparison to the franchise's all-time defensive great; J.J. Watt.
Watt didn't win the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, but did win the Defensive Player of the Year Award three times, and should've won it a fourth in 2018, but he lost out and came in second During his time in the league, Watt had 101.5 sacks in Houston and another 13.5 sacks in Arizona, making him one of the most prolific pass rushers of all time.
Watt dominated the NFL for years, until retiring this past season. He remains the pinnacle for success for all Texans defenders to be measured against. So while Anderson has joined a truly impressive fraternity of players in Houston Texans' history, he still has a long way to go before he gets to Watt's level.