The Pro Football Writers of America have named QB C.J. Stroud the Offensive Rookie of the Year and DE Will Anderson Jr. the Defensive Rookie of the Year. Additionally, Stroud has been named the PFWA’s NFL Rookie of the Year, marking a Texans sweep of the top rookie awards.
Selected No. 2 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, Stroud took the NFL by storm, starting in all 15 of his appearances and completing 319-of-499 pass attempts for a rookie franchise-record of 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns, five interceptions and a passer rating of 100.8, marking the third-best passer rating by a rookie in NFL history. His 4,108 passing yards rank third in NFL annals among rookie signal callers, while leading all rookies this past season in all major passing categories. Stroud finished the 2023 campaign with 4,557 total passing yards, including the postseason, which is the second-most ever by a rookie. He also began his career with a record 192 consecutive pass attempts without an interception, the most ever by a player to begin a career. Stroud led the league in passing yards per game (273.9), while also pacing the NFL in touchdown-interception ratio (4.60), becoming just the third player in NFL history to finish first in both categories, joining Joe Montana (1989) and Tom Brady (2007). Among his numerous record-setting performances was his 470-yard, five-touchdown performance in Week 9 that earned him his first of two AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, as he also captured the award in Week 18 after clinching a playoff spot and division crown for the franchise’s first time since 2019. Stroud also won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month and AFC Player of the Month for November, becoming just the second rookie quarterback in league history to win AFC Offensive Player of the Month and just the fifth player ever to earn NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month in the same month.
Anderson Jr., the club’s third overall selection and very next pick after Stroud this past April, started in 13 games, totaling 45 tackles including 10 tackles for loss, 67 pressures, 7.0 sacks, one pass defensed and one blocked field goal. Anderson’s 7.0 sacks this season set a new rookie franchise record for most sacks in a single-season and his 67 pressures led all rookies in the NFL this year. Anderson turned in arguably his best performance of the season in the Week 13 win against Denver, in which he racked up five tackles (three solo), 2.0 sacks, four quarterback hits, two tackles for loss and one pass defensed. He also made his presence felt on special teams in Week 3 at Jacksonville when he blocked a field goal, becoming the first Texans rookie to block a field goal since J.J. Watt in 2011. Anderson also had a pair of sacks in Week 17 against Tennessee, and a six-tackle game in Week 5 at Atlanta.
Stroud becomes the first player in Texans lore to garner PFWA Rookie of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year honors while Anderson Jr. joins Dunta Robinson (2004), DeMeco Ryans (2006) and Brian Cushing (2009) as Texans who have claimed the Defensive Rookie of the Year nod.
ABOUT THE PFWA: In its 60th season in 2023, the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public. The PFWA is made up of accredited writers who cover the NFL and the 32 teams daily. Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News is the PFWA president for the 2023-24 seasons and the organization’s 31st president. Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post is the PFWA’s first vice-president, Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic is the second vice-president, Lindsay Jones of The Ringer is the advisor to the president and Mike Sando of The Athletic is the secretary-treasurer. At-large board members include USA Today’s Mike Jones, ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold, Joe Reedy of the Associated Press and ProFootballTalk.com’s Charean Williams.