CJ Stroud's AP Offensive Rookie of the Year nomination headlines Texans up for prestigious awards

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Thursday, January 25, 2024
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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Sure, being nominated for a Pepsi Zero Sugar-sponsored award is nice to earn.

But it's the Associated Press-backed awards that are considered the most prestigious at year's end.

On Thursday, the Houston Texans revealed their powerful foursome of C.J. Stroud, Will Anderson Jr., Demeco Ryans, and Bobby Slowik all earned finalist consideration for AP's year-end awards for the NFL.

Stroud's nod for AP Offensive Rookie of the Year was not unexpected after the No. 2 overall draft selection set rookie records from the quarterback position.

Just like his nomination for the fan-driven 2023 Pepsi Zero Sugar NFL Rookie of the Year, he will have to out-earn votes against Lions tight end Sam LaPorta, Lions running back Jahmyr Gibbs, Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua, and Falcons running back Bijan Robinson for the award.

Stroud led all rookie QBs in passing yards at 4,108 and touchdown passes at 23. He also finished with the third-most passing yards by a rookie in NFL history and became the fourth qualifying rookie quarterback in NFL history with a passer rating of 100 or higher.

Stroud's teammate and the No. 3 draft selection after him, Will Anderson Jr., was named a finalist for AP Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Alabama alum collected 45 tackles and seven sacks from the defensive end position. Anderson will compete with Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter, Rams defensive lineman Kobie Turner, Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr., and Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon for the honor.

Stroud and Anderson could continue a streak of players from the same team to win the offensive and defensive rookie awards. The New York Jets' Garrett Wilson and Sauce Gardner won the prior season's awards.

The on-field duo couldn't have gotten to an expectation-busting first year without head coach Ryans and offensive coordinator Slowik, who were each named finalists for AP Coach of the Year and AP Assistant Coach of the Year.

Ryans, who calls Houston's defense, led a remarkable turnaround, improving a four-win team from 2022 into an AFC South-winning 10-victory program in his first year.

Ryans hired Slowik to call his offense, which soared with Stroud under center, Devin Singletary in the backfield, and unsung wideouts like Nico Collins and Noah Brown.

Ryans, a former linebacker earlier in the Texans' existence, will compete with Cleveland's Kevin Stefanski, Detroit's Dan Campbell, San Francisco's Kyle Shanahan, and Baltimore's John Harbaugh.

Slowik must overcome Browns defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, and Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

Despite the rookie nod, Stroud was left out of the NFL MVP conversation, with Lamar Jackson, Christian McCaffrey, Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, and Brock Purdy named finalists.

The AP awards will be announced during the NFL Honors ceremony on the Thursday before the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, on Feb. 8.

Meanwhile, Ryans and Stroud are picking up awards elsewhere. The Pro Football Writers of America named them NFL Coach and NFL Rookie of 2023.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.