NFL Awards: Texans QB C.J. Stroud, Browns DE Myles Garrett, 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey among big winners

LAS VEGAS — C.J. Stroud wasn't the first pick of the NFL Draft. But he might be the No. 1 rookie quarterback of all time.

Stroud had an unbelievable rookie season for the Houston Texans, breaking several records. And on Thursday night he won Offensive Rookie of the Year at NFL Honors, the league's annual awards gala.

"There's been a lot of support I've had over the years to make this dream come true," Stroud said backstage after receiving his award. "It has been a heck of a ride."

It took a monster season from Stroud to beat out Los Angeles Rams receiver Puka Nacua, who set multiple rookie records himself including the single season record for receiving yards by a rookie. Stroud, the second pick of the draft, was excellent from beginning to end and in the playoffs as well, leading his Texans to a wild-card round win over the Cleveland Browns.

Stroud got 48 of 50 first-place votes and two second-place votes. Nacua got two first-place votes and 48 second-place votes.

Stroud was part of a stellar rookie class for the Texans, which included pass rusher Will Anderson Jr., the No. 3 overall pick of the draft who also had a big impact and won Defensive Rookie of the Year later in the night at NFL Honors.

"It speaks volumes to the type of people you have in the building," Anderson said about he and Stroud both winning rookie of the year.

NFL MVP: Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson

Jackson got his second MVP award, becoming the 11th player to get multiple NFL MVP awards. He joins an elite list of legends in the game that have won more than one NFL MVP.

Jackson got 49 of 50 first-place votes. When he won his first MVP in 2019 he got all 50 votes to win unanimously.

Defensive Player of the Year: Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett

Garrett, once the first overall pick of the draft, won his first DPOY award after a stellar season. He had 14 sacks for an excellent Browns defense, leading the team to the playoffs.

There was a lot of competition for the award among elite pass rushers. Maxx Crosby, T.J. Watt and Micah Parsons all had excellent seasons. Garrett won it despite not leading the NFL in sacks — that was Watt, with 19 — which is a testament to the big plays he made all season for the Cleveland defense. Garrett got 23 first-place votes, Watt got 19, Parsons got seven and Dallas Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland got one.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Houston Texans DE Will Anderson Jr.

The Texans traded a lot to move up to No. 3 and draft Anderson, right after they drafted Stroud. The Texans got a pair of rookies of the year from those picks.

Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter had a big lead in the DROY race early on, but Anderson started to make his run at the award late in the season. Anderson finished with seven sacks and made many plays for a young, rising Texans team that made the playoffs.

Anderson had 16 first-place votes, Carter had 14, Los Angeles Rams rookie defensive lineman Kobie Turner also had 14, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon got four and Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr. and Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker YaYa Diaby got one each.

Coach of the Year: Cleveland Browns' Kevin Stefanski

Stefanski won a close race. He and Houston Texans coach DeMeco Ryans both had 165 points, but Stefanski won by getting 21 first-place votes to 20 for Ryans. The NFL recently expanded the awards voting process to votes for first, second and third place.

Stefanski won the award by leading his Browns to the playoffs despite using four starting quarterbacks on the season. Once the Browns settled on Joe Flacco to replace Deshaun Watson, Cleveland finished strong and made the postseason. It was only the third time Cleveland made the postseason since re-entering the NFL in 1999.

Dan Campbell and Kyle Shanahan got three first-place votes each, John Harbaugh got two and Sean McVay got one.

Offensive Player of the Year: 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey

McCaffrey led the NFL in yards from scrimmage and total touchdowns, which was enough to overcome Tyreek Hill for the OPOY award.

"This is such an honor," McCaffrey said as he accepted the award.

McCaffrey got 39 first-place votes. Hill got seven, CeeDee Lamb got one but finished in third place over Lamar Jackson, who got three first-place votes, due to Lamb getting more second- and third-place votes.

Comeback Player of the Year: Cleveland Browns QB Joe Flacco

Damar Hamlin was a favorite to win Comeback Player of the Year most of the season, but Flacco's comeback story late in the season ended up grabbing the award. Hamlin had the most first-place votes with 21, but Flacco won the award because he had 26 second-place votes and Hamlin didn't get any first-, second- or third-place votes on eight ballots. Flacco got 13 first-place votes.

Flacco was signed by Cleveland in mid-November after not being on any roster since the end of the 2022 season, and he was given the shot to replace injured Deshaun Watson as the Browns starting quarterback. Flacco, who turned 39 years old last month, played well down the stretch and the Browns made the playoffs. Flacco said he'd like to play again next season, though admitted it might be out of his control if he didn't get an opportunity.

"I'm not riding off into any sunset," Flacco said backstage. "It's not my style."

Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills safety who had a cardiac emergency on the field during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals last season, was a candidate for the award but his claim in the award was debated because he played only five games in the regular season and was inactive for 12. His story was an inspiration for many and he got the most first-place votes, but fell short of winning the award.

Walter Payton Man of the Year: Pittsburgh Steelers DT Cameron Heyward

A clearly emotional Heyward was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year, given to the player who excels on the field and in community service. The award was presented by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex.

Heyward is a six-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro. Part of his charitable work is "Cam's Kindness Week" in Pittsburgh. He addressed his fellow players as he accepted the award.

"Keep doing work, keep being positive role models," Heyward said.