New Prospect Video: Three Weeks of Justin Houston

Written by Aaron Aloysius on February 13, 2011



Georgia pass rusher Justin Houston had a breakout junior season, notching 11 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss. He was very productive in the Bulldogs’ new 3-4 defense, leading many to conclude that he’ll soon be a disruptive 3-4 outside backer in the big leagues.

 

However, the tape shows that Houston may need more development before he’ll be effective in that role.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiwuZT5hXlg

 

Though Houston began the transition to playing with his hand up, he looked much more comfortable and explosive playing with his hand in the dirt. From a three-point stance, Houston displays an excellent first step; from a two-point, he’s less capable of running the arc around offensive tackles. His limited repertoire of rush moves further amplifies the issue.

 

As a result, Houston may be more effective early on as a nickel rusher. In fact, a 4-3 team could be interested in having him line up at defensive end on passing downs.

 

Houston would be too much of a liability to be an every down 4-3 defensive end, but he could thrive in the combined strongside linebacker/nickel rusher role that eased Brian Orakpo’s transition to the NFL and allowed Kamerion Wimbley to have success last year in Oakland.

 

Either way, Houston has excellent upside as a pass rusher, but he may not be quite as NFL-ready as most draftniks think.

Aaron Aloysius

Aaron began closely following the draft in 2005. Since then, he’s overcome an Al Davis-like obsession with workout numbers, instead focusing on the qualities and traits visible on prospects’ tape. See all posts by Aaron Aloysius.