Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Rookie of the Year Will Anderson Jr. can’t wait to ‘wreak havoc’ with new Texans teammate Danielle Hunter

Last season, Houston Texans defensive end Will Anderson Jr. was one of the best rookies in football. He finished the season with seven sacks and 59 pressures in his 13 games played. Anderson was named Defensive Rookie of the Year for his efforts, and also selected to the Pro Bowl.

As Anderson looks to build on that campaign heading into Year 2, though, he will be rushing alongside an almost entirely new group of defensive linemen. Anderson’s seven sacks ranked second on the team last year behind only Jonathan Greenard’s 12.5, but Greenard signed with the Vikings this offseason. Sheldon Rankins and his six sacks signed with the Bengals, while Maliek Collins (five sacks) was traded to the 49ers.

In their places, the Texans brought in Denico Autry and Tim Settle to play inside, and former Vikings star Danielle Hunter to rush the edge opposite Anderson. 

Anderson is particularly fired up about playing alongside Hunter. 

“I’m very excited,” he told Houston’s KPRC2, the local NBC affiliate. “… I was jumping up and down, man, I was so excited, because now teams, they’ve got to choose who they’re gonna double-team,” Anderson said regarding himself and Hunter, who is coming off a 16.5-sack year in Minnesota and has hit double digits in six of his last seven healthy seasons.

“It’s really exciting. He’s a great guy. He loves football, man. I can’t wait to learn from him, go out there and (wreak) havoc with him,” Anderson said.”

Both Anderson and Hunter were among the most frequently double-teamed edge rushers in the NFL, according to ESPN, and given that they’ll now be on the same team, it will obviously be more difficult to devote two blockers to each of them. Throw in Autry, who had a career-high 11.5 sacks and has notched at least 7.5 in each of the past four seasons, and DeMeco Ryans really has a lot to work with up front. If they all play to the best of their abilities, it can help take Houston’s defense to a new level.

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