6’2 3/4, 305 pounds | Defensive tackle | Texas
Pass Rush: As a former defensive end, Houston has a nice variety of pass rush moves. He uses a swim and a rip to some degree of success. Does a nice job of dipping his shoulder to work around the edge. Doesn’t have the longest arms and that comes into play when he’s blitzing. Is much better we he can use his quickness penetrating than bull rushing.
Pursuit: For a player his size, Houston has good agility. He can change direction with ease and works down the line impressively. Was used some in coverage dropping back off the line.
Quickness: Quickness is inconsistent. Some plays Houston will fly off the line and others he’s not as explosive. Part of Houston’s plus quickness is thanks to lining up in a four-point stance. Coaches in the NFL may not allow him to do that, so he may need to refine his technique coming out of a three-point stance. He’s quicker off the snap than most defensive tackles, but Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy and Brian Price are much faster off the snap than Houston.
Run defend: Anchors fairly well but has some problems with double teams. Uses his quickness to collapse the pocket and redirect the running back. Teams schemed against him in the run game (see the national title game). Is very good in pursuit.
Size: Houston has a thick build, particularly in his lower body. He’s a powerful player and won’t need to get much bigger to make it in the NFL. Hand size is very good, for whatever that’s worth for a defensive lineman.
Strength: Houston has good functional playing strength and doesn’t need to get much stronger to make it in the NFL. Where he needs to improve some is how he uses that strength. Hell sometimes have issues with shedding blocks and can use his strength more here.
Tackling: Has the natural power to tackle while he’s being blocked. Shows good reaction skills to change direction and pursue the ball carrier.
Technique: Gets lower than a lot of defensive tackles, which helps his leverage. needs to be more consistent in getting low, especially when he’s playing over the nose. Has a tendency to get high when he’s rushing the center. When he’s playing end, Houston will come out too wide before working to the middle.
Versatility: Houston is one of the more versatile defensive tackles in this year’s draft. He’s played end and tackle for Texas and even lined up at fullback. His athleticism and strength allow him to excel both inside and outside and he could do the same in the NFL.
Final word: Houston is the kind of player who makes this year’s draft so impressive. Any other year, he’d be considered a first-round prospect. But with so many quality defensive linemen, he might not hear his name called until the beginning of the second round.
What he’ll have to prove, though, is that his athleticism translates to the next level. It’s one thing to do it against suspect Big 12 interior linemen, and a complete other to do it against 320-pound NFL guards.