Houston has a light workout scheduled on March 25 with the Atlanta Falcons at the University of Georgia, speculating that the Falcons are seriously considering grabbing Houston with the No. 27 pick in next month's draft.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Justin Houston and other Georgia underclassmen met with Falcons president Rich McCay to discuss with players who could leave school early for a shot at the NFL draft.Maybe the Falcons have real interest in the 6-foot-3, 270-pound Houston. Maybe they don't. Scheduling private workouts, though, is a pretty good indicator that there is at least some level of curiosity
Intro: (From Doug Farrar of YahooSports Shutdown Corner)
The 6-foot-3, 270-pound Houston has excelled in three- and four-man fronts as the Bulldogs have changed their defensive schemes, amassing 20 sacks (16 solo), 115 tackles (65 solo), 38 tackles for loss (30 solo), 17 quarterback hurries, five passes defensed, and two forced fumbles. In 2010 alone, he had 67 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks. Especially for his size, Houston put on a real show at the scouting combine. His 36 ½-inch vertical jump, the highest at his position, speaks to explosiveness off the snap, and his 40-yard bash, 3-cone, and shuttle times were all exceptional.
At Georgia's pro day, Houston ran a 4.57, bettering his 4.62 effort from the NFL Combine.
Houston is a bit undersized as a traditional 4-3 defensive end but fits the mold of a 3-4 outside linebacker. Gets off the ball quickly, has enough athleticism to get the corner, and can also use the bull rush but needs to do a better job after contact and widen his array moves. Flashes the ability to keep blockers off his body, set the edge, get off blocks and make plays and make plays in pursuit but needs to show more intensity shedding and playing in a phone booth. Has the athleticism to drop into coverage but may struggle in man.
Positives: (From CBS Sports)
A former defensive end, Houston became a stand-up pass rusher in Georgia's new 3-4 scheme in 2010. Considering the pass-rushing prowess he'd shown as an undersized defensive end in 2009, he proved to be made for the new role.
Roughly half of the 32 NFL teams use a three-man line as their base defense. Versatile pass rushers like Houston are more valuable than ever. With a season of experience already under his belt -- as opposed to making the transition in training camp -- Houston has an advantage over similarly built athletes yet to prove they can make the switch. He might be viewed as a one-trick pony but, because of his burst off the edge, Houston the potential to be a top-50 pick.
Negatives: (Sideline Scouting) points out why many feel Houston will move back to DE in the NFL.
Plays much more like a weakside defensive end on first and second down than he does a linebacker, can get too deep into the backfield and get out of position on plays up the middle of the line... Will never be very proficient in coverage, will be suitable to defend short routes in the NFL, but will likely be predominantly a pass rusher.
We've maintained all along Houston is best placed as a speed rushing defensive end in a four-man line, similar to Brandon Graham, the first round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles one year ago.
Appearing on Path to the Draft Monday, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock questioned Georgia DE Justin Houston's motor.:Mayock acknowledged Houston's impressive measurables and "explosiveness off the edge," but doesn't believe he deserves a first-round grade. "What I don't like and what a lot of people in the league don't like, is that (Houston's) tape is somewhat lackadaisical," said Mayock. "He's not a great hustler every snap of every game. For me, that puts him in the second round."
Houston was suspended in 2009 for reportedly violating his school's substance abuse policy.
Wes Bunting, of www.NationalFootballPost.com summarizes: An explosive pass rusher who has been productive in the SEC the past two seasons and knows how to consistently threaten the corner. Has the fluidity to develop a counter move, but needs some time. Looks like a potential impact-caliber pass rusher at the next level.