Georgia’s Houston: Next Best OLB Behind Miller?

March 07, 2011 | Brian Billick

Justin Houston is another OLB whose pass rush ability has caught the attention of NFL brass.  As a Sr. Houston registered 10 sacks, and Georgia credited him with a total of 44 QB hurries.  Similar to Von Miller, Houston was mainly asked to be a force in the pass rush game and therefore rarely dropped back into coverage.  Throughout college, he lined up both as an OLB and DE and is a little more reliable against the run compared to the other top 3-4 OLB prospects.  His game tape shows that he plays low and uses his overpowering strength to his advantage.  His combine numbers back that up – 6’2 7/8, 270 lbs, 31 reps on the bench press.  Even more attractive at the combine, at a bulked up 270 lbs (up from 258), he didn’t jeopardize any explosion.  He still jumped a 36.5″ vertical and impressed with a 10’5 broad jump.  As a coach and talent evaluator, we try not to fall in love with a young man based on his work out in tights at the combine, but coupled with his game tape, Houston should be considered as an immediate impact player.  It will be interesting to see how teams compare Houston to UCLA’s Akeem Ayers as the next best OLB behind Miller – if it were up to me, I would go with Houston.

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