At the start of the season, the idea of Will Anderson Jr. winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award was a pipe dream. Anderson, while great against the run, and providing solid pass rushing, just wasn't putting up the glamor stats that voters look for when making their picks for postseason awards. Anderson was essentially left out of the talk, and Jalen Carter of the Philadelphia Eagles was the toast of the league.
But that's why you don't pick your award winners in October. Anderson came on strong in the second half of the season and led all rookies in sacks for the season while proving to be one of the best run-stoppers the Houston Texans have. It's by no surprise that at the end of the season, the Pro Football Writers of America voted Anderson as their Defensive Rookie of the Year.
It's now been announced that the crew at FOX Sports' football arm has announced that Anderson won the fan vote for their version of the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, proving that his second half is truly more impressive than Carter's.
CBS Sports also named their winner, but unlike the FOX vote, CBS Sports relied on experts, 32 of them in fact and they also selected Andreson as their Defensive Rookie of the Year. That means that both Anderson and teammate C.J. Stroud won their respective awards all three times they've been nominated. Unlike Stroud, who ran away with his CBS Award 28 votes to four (Puka Nacua being the only other person to get votes), Anderson had competition.
Only 15 of the CBS crew voted for Anderson to win the award, with Carter getting nine votes and a second-place finish. It seems that Anderson isn't the same lock for the award as Stroud is.
Anderson is still the favorite to win the NFL's biggest award, the AP version, which will be handed out on Feb. 8 at the NFL Honors event, but Andreson will likely face stiff competition there as well.