2007 Draft Recap: Chris Houston

Hog Wired

Chris Houston

Height: 5-10
Weight: 185
College: Arkansas
Birthday: October 18, 1984
Hometown: Austin, TX


40 Speed: 4.32
20 Yd: 2.52
10 Yd: 1.50
Bench: 27 reps
Vertical Jump: 36 inches
Broad Jump: 10’2″
Short Shuttle: 4.12
3 Cone Drill: 6.94
Arm Length: 32 inches
Hand size: 9 inches

NFL Draft Countdown
by Scott WrightStrengths: Has good size with long arms…Smooth with outstanding athleticism…Very good timed speed and quickness with a burst…He’s exceptionally tough and physical in coverage…Able to run with most wideouts in man…Has fluid hips and can flip and turn…Extremely confident in his abilities…Great leaper…Strong…Has pretty good instincts…Uses his hands well…Breaks up a lot of passes…Has a lot of potential.Weaknesses: He might be a little too sure of himself at times…Ball skills are only average…Too aggressive and will get fooled…Still raw in terms of his technique…Does not do a great job supporting the run…Only an average tackler at best…He was not overly productive for most of his career…May be a workout warrior…A high bust factor?Notes: Coming off his best season by far and he really made a name for himself in 2006 by limiting Dwayne Jarrett, Robert Meachem and Dwayne Bowe to a combined 14 catches for 168 yards and 1 touchdown…Has just about all of the physical tools that you look for and is similar to another Hog and former 1st round pick Ahmad Carroll…Intriguing prospect who could see his stock soar leading up to the draft.Grade: First Rounder

by TFY Draft PreviewPOSITIVES: Feisty cornerback with a cocky attitude. Aggressive throughout the action, fights hard to defend throws and backs down to no one. Jams opponents at the line of scrimmage, is fluid turning his hips to run downfield and quickly breaks to the throw.NEGATIVES: Gets turned on occasion, does not display top instincts and is slow locating the ball with his back to the action. Struggles transitioning downfield and shows a bit of hesitation to his game. Does not display top-end speed.ANALYSIS: A developing corner with good size and a solid game, Houston has the physical style to play in press coverage as well as the abilities to be used in a zone system. Offers a good degree of upside, yet must complete his game before he.ll see action as a starter.PROJECTION: Late First Round

GRADE: 4.05 — First-Year Contributor

by NFLDraftScout.comPositives: Has a lean, muscular frame with slender hips, long arms and legs, split high and good definition in his arms and calves … Smooth, fluid mover with loose hips, quick foot speed, good hand/eye coordination and the second gear to close on the ball in a hurry … Shows smooth hip turn in transition and times his leaps well to compete for the ball at its high point … Comes out of his breaks cleanly and shows the functional strength to get off some blocks to make the tackle in the open area … Loves challenges and seems to play his best vs. top competition … Plays with nice effort and toughness and is a self-starter who doesn’t need structure to work on the extras needed to improve … Hard worker in the weight room, evident by his 450-pound bench press … Can locate receivers when handling the switch-off in zone coverage … When he stays disciplined, he sticks to receivers well on double moves and has the hand strength to reroute and press … Can latch and trail, showing the ability to cover the receiver when he doesn’t come out of his pedal too early … Plays better when he executes the press than when playing off coverage … Plays the ball well in front of him, but needs to do a better job of anticipating in attempts to jump the play … Plants and drives well to break up slants and is good at jumping for the ball in flight, timing his leaps with good body control … Is effective pursuing across the field … Good at avoiding blockers on the move and is active using his hands to shed … Moves forward with good urgency and is effective at reaching around the receiver to knock the ball away … Physical tackler in pass coverage (marginal vs. the run), as he can fit in the open and shows good hand strength to wrap and control … Has the ability to come off the block and make the play in the open field.Negatives: Locks on and runs with the receiver quite a bit, not showing the quick read-and-react skills you want in a cornerback (guesses and gambles often and the result is a high amount of pass interference penalties — eight in 2006) … Has loose hips to turn fluidly, but tends to open them too early, causing him to struggle mirroring the receiver when he gets behind the action (fails to generate his burst to recover) … Can cover tight in the short area, but struggles to feel and anticipate routes on deep throws … Shows good hip flexibility, but when he shuffles his feet he is late coming out of his breaks … Has good balance in his backpedal, but will sometimes get too tall in his stride, looking uncomfortable coming out of his breaks … Despite his weight-room strength, he prefers to cover vs. the pass rather than support the run (will not stick his hat into the pile) … Will get lazy with his eyes and take some chances, resulting in blown coverages when playing in the deep zone … Has a good second gear, but doesn’t use it consistently, as he struggles to recover when beaten … Lacks natural hands, as he tends to cradle the ball on his body and must learn how to extend his arms to make the catch (had four potential interceptions that resulted in pass deflections when he dropped the ball in 2006 and seems to trap the ball too much rather than fielding it cleanly) … When taking on ball carriers or working at the line, he will revert to putting his head down before making contact, losing sight of the ball.Compares To: Ahmad Carroll, Jacksonville Jaguars … You have to wonder if history is repeating itself here as both are excellent athletes with good speed and great strength, yet their power is negated by their reluctance to lend support vs. the run … Houston has good leaping ability and timing, but his poor hands have seen several potential interceptions turn into pass deflections … Like Carroll, Houston sometimes looks lost in play recognition, resulting in seven pass interference calls in 2006 … They talk about Houston holding Tennessee’s Robert Meachem to only two catches, but one was good for a touchdown … Ball-concentration problems were evident when he failed to secure the ball properly and fumbled an interception in the Mississippi State game … He did hold USC’s Dwayne Jarrett to 35 yards on five catches, but the Trojans were breaking in a new quarterback at the time … Is the real Chris Houston the one getting constantly turned around by Sidney Rice and crew in the South Carolina game (10 passes caught vs. Houston)? … Time will tell, but after Green Bay’s fiasco with Carroll, “buyer beware” when looking at a similar cornerback.

The Huddle Report
by Drew BoylhartSTRENGTHS:Chris is the type of player that plays bigger than his size because of his strength and confidence. He has good quickness and speed and is a very smooth CB who has no wasted movements or false steps when he is covering a WR man-to-man. He is an excellent shutdown cover corner that loves a challenge. Chris is a decent tackler, but the truth is, he would rather cover a receiver so that the ball is not even thrown his way at all. Chris shows good mental strength to go along with a smooth stride, excellent hip-flip and is smart when reading a WR to anticipate when the ball is ready to be knocked down. Chris should help a team as a cover corner the day after he is drafted.NEEDS TO IMPROVE: Chris is an excellent cover corner, but he doesn’t seem to have very good hands to intercept the ball. He is not much of a playmaker and because he does not show very good hands, he will have difficulties helping out for the team that drafts him in the return game on special teams. Also, Chris is not quick to leave his man and come up and support the run game against sweeps to his side of the field.OVERALL: In my mind, for a corner to be rated as a 1st round talent, he has to be a playmaker and a corner that tackles in all phases of the game. Right now, on the film I have of Chris, he is lacking in those two areas. He has excellent cover skills and has gone up against some big time talent, but for the next level, the WR’s are better at catching balls with CB’s hanging all over them and RB’s that will sweep around your side all day long if they smell a corner who is not energetic enough to come up and attack the sweep. Chris has some excellent 1st round talents and he could improve his attitude towards defending against a sweep without much trouble at all; however, I don’t see many CB’s that improve their abilities to intercept the ball because they lack the true hand-eye coordination to catch a ball. Antoine Winfield (CB Vikings) is a hell of a CB, but he is not an impact CB because he just does not get enough interceptions. Now, he has made a lot of money, but the fact is that he would make even more if he could just intercept a few passes a year. The fact is, no QB is afraid in an important part of a game to throw his way because they know the pass will not be intercepted. So no harm, no foul — so to speak. Chris will be an excellent cover corner for the team that drafts him, but unless he shows in his workouts that he can catch the ball for an interception, then he just won’t be an impact cover corner.TALENT BOARD ROUND: 2

On The Clock Draft

Chris Houston has starting experience against top competition, having played at Arkansas in the SEC the past three seasons. He has a good combination of speed, strength, and intelligence. He is a physical corner who also has the cocky attitude you need to play the position at the next level. He has fluid hips and excels in man-to-man coverage. Though he lacks great size, his strength allows him to matchup against bigger, stronger receivers while his speed allows him to stay with any receiver who lines up against him. He is an instinctive player and he makes a lot of plays on the ball. Though he gets his hands on a lot of balls, Houston lacks great hands and doesn’t make a lot of interceptions (3 career INTs). He will step up and support the run but he will take poor angles at times and he needs to improve his tackling technique. Chris Houston is not by any means a finished product. With less than two full seasons as a starter, he is still learning the cornerback position. He does have a great deal of upside and his outstanding performance at the combine should push him into the latter portion of the first round.

Football’s Future
by Robert DavisAs a freshman, in 2004, Chris Houston has 21 tackles, 2.5 of them for loss. In 2005 he had 20 tackles, one for loss. He appeared to put it all together as a junior in 2006, breaking out for 45 tackles, 1.5 for loss, and three interceptions on the year. Houston is an excellent cover corner. He has very good speed and quickness, and has all the ability to turn and run with receivers down the field, and in and out of their breaks. He has the size to match up with most receivers in one on one situations, and can locate the ball while it is in the air. Houston has the ability to find the football, but he is not the playmaker you want in a high draft pick. He only has three career picks, all of them coming in his final season, as a junior. He also does not show enough aggression in providing run support, and must become a more all around threat to live up to his potential. Houston has all the talent to be a standout cover man, but he has never been the playmaker his skills suggest he should be. An impressive post season circuit has pushed him into the first round of the draft.

Draft Ace
by Ryan McCrystalStrengths: Shows good strength for his size. Can be physical at times. Elite speed. Potentially the best cover corner in this years draft. Has fluid hips and good footwork; allows for him to stick tight on his man. Excellent vertical leap. Decent ball skills.Weaknesses: Lacks ideal height and bulk. Not a solid tackler. Fundamentals get shaky at times. Appears to lose focus. Won’t do much in terms of run support.Comments: Houston had a solid year at Arkansas but was relatively under the radar during the season. He was one of the surprise early entries into this year’s draft but he has come through with good workouts and proven he belongs. He impressed scouts with his impressive showing in the forty and bench press. His speed immediately catches your eye. While he looks shaky at times in man coverage, his natural ability is rare and gives coaches the opportunity to groom him into a potentially elite shutdown corner at the next level.

Draft Board Insider
by Curtis PopejoyPOSITIVES: Houston has good size and is a very muscular player. It shows in his game because he’s one of the more physical cornerbacks in the country. He loves to stick his nose in there and get dirty even against much bigger players. Houston is a smart player and shows very good instincts on the field. His speed is very good and shows it, not only when he opens up and turns up field to run with wide outs, but also in the short routes where he’s able to close quickly and make plays.NEGATIVES: Surprisingly for his strengths as a physical press man corner I’ve never been overly wowed by his run support. It’s probably due to the fact that he’s not a real solid tackler. He’s also got to work hard on his ball skills. It seems like he recognizes the play and is in position to make a big play, but tends to come up a little short. For all the plays he’s in on, he should have far more interceptions than he does.FINAL WORD: Houston is a very interesting player. I am a little shocked he declared early because he’s got a lot to learn. He’s got to get better in run support, use better angles, improve tackling, be more aggressive…the works. He’s also got to improve his hands. He gets his hands on too many passes not to have more picks. Houston has a ton of upside and I think all the things he needs work on he certainly can improve. The things Houston has going for him more than make up for his shortcomings. He’s shown he can cover the best wide receivers in the country, locked down, press man, no help, so if you can keep a QB from throwing to a wide out, it’s just as good as being a great tackler.

Consensus Draft ServicesOverview: Houston really emerged as a top SEC corner during the 2006 season. He started the season off with a bang by playing a very physical game against USC’s Dwayne Jarrett, effectively removing him from the game. He’s carried that physicality and aggressiveness right through the season while facing some of the toughest receivers in the SEC (Robert Meachem, Andre Caldwell, Dwayne Bowe, Earl Bennett, Sidney Rice). He declared early for the 2007 NFL Draft and will ride the tide of a great season right into the NFL.Strengths: Great strength and physicality, combined with aggressiveness, means that Houston takes many receivers out of the play immediately after the snap with a great jam at the LOS. He has great hand placement and can knock the receiver off balance immediately. If Houston is playing off the receiver, he has quick feet in his backpedal and shows excellent hip flip to turn and run with the receiver. He has the speed to run with the fastest receivers and the height, long arms, and body control to get up and attack the ball at its highest point. He can break on the ball well when it’s in front of him and has the speed to make up ground when necessary. He possesses unequaled strength for the position. At the combine, he did 27 bench reps, more than most offensive and defensive linemen. He also produced the best all-around workout in Indy for any position.Weaknesses:Houston has only been a starter for one year and is still learning the nuances of playing corner. Despite the fact that he is often in position to make a play on the ball, he only has 3 INTs in his career (all this year and 2 against a weak opponent). He will have to come down with more of those balls and turn some of his PDs into INTs. Despite Houston’s size, strength, physicality, and aggressiveness, he isn’t nearly as involved against the run as he should be.Projection: Houston did more to raise his draft status at the combine than any other player. He showed outstanding speed, agility, strength, explosion, and position skills. He is now battling with Michigan’s Leon Hall to be the first corner selected in the 2007 NFL Draft.

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Aaron Freeman
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