PROS: A high motor player with a nice first step. Shoots gaps and is able to make plays in the backfield. Is able to get leverage vs. the run and make stops at the point of attack. Can make plays in pursuit. Fights through double teams. Shows good potential as a bull rusher and has a good swim move. Has good closing burst on the quarterback with nice straight-line speed.
CONS: Needs to do a better job getting off blocks at the point of attack. Not as effective when he's playing inside as he is when he's playing over the tackle. Needs to get stronger and gets engulfed at times by the guard. Doesn't use swim move enough and other pass rush moves.
OVERVIEW: Houston is strong and athletic guy that excels at getting upfield. He plays mostly end in Texas hybrid 3-4 scheme, but plays across the line. Really blossomed as a senior, finishing with 8 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, and 28 hurries. He was suspended for a game in 2008 for a DUI and his production was hampered that year due to a foot injury. For his career, he totaled 42 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, 12 pass breakups, and 61 hurries including three years as a starter.
NFL FORECAST: He's good enough to play in any scheme, although he projects best in a 3-4 at end or 4-3 at tackle. He dominated Drew Davis in the championship game, and was living in Alabama's
backfield for much of the game. And almost every time he was, he was going up against Davis. But he was less effective when he was facing Alabama's guards. He can contribute as a pass rusher, he won't ever be a top pass rusher at the next level. He'll be a guy that routinely racks up 2-4 sacks a year for the most part. But his value will be in defending the run, where he excels. He fits best in a one-gap scheme that allows him to get upfield. This means that the 4-3 as an under tackle is probably his best fit, but I believe he can also work as a DE in a 3-4 if it's a scheme that wants its ends to get upfield and attack. He should be a capable starter down the road, although again I'm not sure he's going to be a star. At the very least, he should develop into one of the top backup tackles in the business.
ATL FORECAST: Houston would fit well in Atlanta because his game is reminsiscent of Jonathan Babineaux's. Houston is good enough to potentially start for the Falcons down the road. He needs a bit more work as a tackle, particularly as he polishes up his technique but his high motor, athleticism, and strength should allow him to contribute rapidly. He could challenge right away for the third spot and I would suspect would be logging significant minutes by the end of his rookie season. By his second year at least, would be the team's top backup tackle. And perhaps by his third or fourth year would be in a position to battle for and win a starting spot.
VALUE: Houston is a solid third round pick that could sneak into the second round if teams really like his motor and versatility.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
POINT OF ATTACK: 3.5
PASS RUSH: 3.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.