Over the next week or so I am going to break down some of the first round possible outside linebacker available to the Jets, even if it means trading up. (No, i'm not talking about trading up for a Von Miller or anything).
Justin Houston is listed as a linebacker, but at 270 pounds, he can play with his hand in the dirt at DE. Whether you have noticed or not, Rex's defense does not play a strict 3-4, as opposed to teams like Dallas (before they hired Rob Ryan), who line up in the package about 70% of the time. Rex's defense is multiple, meaning they run just about every front. Houston body type gives him a little versatility in this system.
What is most impressive about Houston is his quickness off the ball carrying that much weight. His quick first step is his strength, allowing him to simply run around tackles in the SEC. He does a great job anticipating the snap count, giving him more of an advantage coming off the ball. he's not particularly special against the run, but he's not awful either.
What are his negatives? He tends to get swallowed up by bigger lineman because he plays too high at times. He doesn't have a great lean ability. Should he converted to linebacker, he could be exposed in coverage at times, something Jets fans are too used to seeing out of their linebackers.
Overall, I like Houston as a prospect, but I this guy just reminds me of Vernon Gholston. He makes splash plays that really jump out at you, but can play very average for chunks of time. He is a pretty high character guy, who apparently has grown as a leader and does work in the community. Still, to me, it seems as if his attributes are not worth the 30th overall pick. I used to be pretty high on Houston, but after digging up some reports on the guy, I can't pretend like I'm thrilled. I just don't see him becoming a star in the NFL.
To me, I think the Jets are looking for "rangier" guy that they can plug in right away. Would you draft Justin Houston?