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Old 03-02-2011, 01:43 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is online now
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My official endorsement for the 21st overall pick.

Barring any bombshells, we pretty much know what we have in most of these prospects. There will be countless clues as to who and what the teams and GMs like in the prospect field over the next two months, but ultimately, the players have spoken.

Some Pro Days are going to fiddle with the rankings, but by and large we aren’t going to be terribly surprised by anybody.

My selection for the Chiefs at #21 is based on the prospect’s talent, the nature of his position, our team, and this draft. My great enthusiasm for this player is matched by my certainty that this player will not be selected by the Chiefs.

With the 21st pick in the NFL Draft, the Chiefs should select OLB Justin Houston, Georgia.

Talent

Justin Houston is a bolt off the edge. Before he gained his recent weight (in which it did not look like fat…), he showed great anticipation of the snapcount and was pure lightning off the edge. That speed, and that anticipation, are nigh impossible to actually “teach” a player. The versatility he will need to develop will come as he has added strength and 35” arms with which he can master any number of techniques. In other words, he comes pretty well prepared to blow stuff up in opposing backfields, while still having massive room for growth.

Houston is also what Herm Edwards would call a “football player” in the vein of Tamba Hali and Glenn Dorsey: the man plays with tons of fire and willingly throws his body into blocks for teammates and plays the run passionately. This is no Dwight Freeney – this guy gets off on running backs just as much as quarterbacks. And with his added bulk, that will only add to his ability in that department.

Houston has the look of somebody who can put up double-digit sacks in the NFL. I don’t claim he is the best prospect – I’m iffy on Bowers but I’d take Ryan Kerrigan in a heartbeat – but with the decent-enough depth at pass-rusher in the first round, it’s likely that Houston can fall to us.

His biggest setback at this point is his added bulk. The 270 he weighs now looks a lot more like a 4-3 DE than a 3-4 OLB body-type. But even with the bulk, his speed is still very solid (4.6 at the Combine, he plays like a 4.5 on the field…). And he features a vertical that most receivers in this class lack. I think this translates into a player who can drop into coverage.

The OLB Position

Passrushing is the toughest job to do on the football field other than playing the QB position. It requires a specific set of physical skills and a never-say-die attitude that will be challenged hundreds of times throughout a season. Your strongest muscle must be your heart.

Because of the difficulty of the position, it takes passrushers about as long as it takes quarterbacks to adjust to the league and play up to their potential. If you’re going to be in a rebuilding process, which despite their 2010 record, the Chiefs definitely are, you should go early and often with passrushers in the draft in the hopes of having a ferocious passrush in a couple years when you’re ready to contend for a title.

Passrushers are also a lot like quarterbacks in that it is extremely rare that your true sack artists come from any round other than the 1st. The other positions Chiefs fans are debating this offseason for the first pick—reciever, nose tackle, offensive line—can be had in later rounds with less of a drop off. But passrushers in the first are the most likely to thrive, and it’s not even close.

The Kansas City Chiefs

I believe in Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson. Dorsey is now playing like a franchise defensive lineman, and Jackson came on incredibly strong in the last four games of the season – as well as the first game of the season. In other words, games in which he was playing close to 100% healthy. If this guy stays healthy, I bet he’s a gamer.

These are two indispensible puzzle pieces for this team given the high picks we invested in them. But neither one is a great passrusher. Neither one of them is much of a passrusher, matter of fact. Our defensive line only features one good passrusher (Wallace Gilberry) and another guy (Ron Edwards) who is guaranteed three sacks a season. (Shaun Smith, meanwhile, is the worst passrusher we have on the DL.)

Under normal circumstances, we could just upgrade the ends with passrushers, but the Chiefs are in an extraordinary circumstance with what we’ve invested in ours. Dorsey and Jackson need to not only be our defensive ends going forward, they need to play the overwhelming majority of snaps. Upgrading the defensive end position basically negates the value we spent on those players.

So a passrush will need to be manufactured in other positions – namely, the position that’s actually designed to be a pure passrusher in a 3-4: the outside linebacker. Tamba Hali is a player that offenses have to single-mindedly focus on to keep their backfields clean. With Justin Houston developing, offenses would have to go more conservative to ward off both edges.

A great passrusher would make everything on this defense better. The secondary would be under less pressure. Other players on the DL (namely Dorsey) would face less focus, and would be freer to operate which in turn would almost completely free up Derrick Johnson and our ILBs. In short, as important as a nose tackle is, one more great passrusher would vault this defense deep into the Top 10.

The 2011 Draft

Like all drafts, this is a draft that has more than a few quality receiver prospects in the early-to-mid rounds. Phil Taylor may be a reach at #21 anyway, so better to get some value later on for the nose. And I am under the belief that our current offensive line (Albert, Waters, Wiegmann assuming he returns, Lilja, and Richardson with Asamoah, Niswanger, and O’Callaghan in the wings) could use some depth, but can hold together for another season while we invest in other positions that are more difficult to develop. It’s hard to complain about an OL that paved the way for two 900+ yard rushers.
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Old 03-02-2011, 01:52 PM   #2
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But was he a team captain?
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Old 03-02-2011, 01:54 PM   #3
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I'm with you, D. Houston is the pick if he is there. The Chiefs can get a WR, C, NT in the next few rounds but they can't get a player anywhere close to what Houston brings to the table.
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Old 03-02-2011, 02:23 PM   #4
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I'd be okay with the choice, but he looked like crap at the combine when he was doing the open field drills. I don't think he can run with a TE.
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Old 03-02-2011, 02:37 PM   #5
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Justin Houston is enormous. His legs are the size of tree trunks. They ran him in a passing drill at the combine and you could see the ground shake. He didn't look very good out in space. There is no possible way he's going to have the fluidity and change of direction capability to effectively be a three down, standup strong side, outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, and since we've already got a former 4-3 defensive end that was second in the league in sacks and first in forced fumbles, that's where Houston would have to play for the Chiefs. (Unless you want Hali to move over to the strong side to play Vrabel's position.)

I simply do not see Houston being effective in zone pass coverage that the position will demand a lot of the time.

The guy bulked up for the combine, came in at 270 lbs. and looks like he's positioning himself as a 4-3 defensive end.

You spoke of rolling out the offensive line in 2011 unchanged from 2010, saying that they were adequate for the task, but yet you still want to draft Houston while we have Studebaker and Sheffield on the roster with Stud getting more and more reps as the season progressed in 2010. At least to me, the OLB position seems to have better depth and developing experience than a number of other positions on the team.

To pick a guy that is going to be a project for a position that we already have a All-Pro level player at in his prime seems a bit redundant, especially considering that there are a number of positions that could stand an immediate upgrade. Drafting Hali's replacement now would be a bit silly.
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Old 03-02-2011, 02:48 PM   #6
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I'd love for us to draft this guy, however, I don't see it happening. In that we agree.
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Old 03-02-2011, 02:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saccopoo View Post
Justin Houston is enormous. His legs are the size of tree trunks. They ran him in a passing drill at the combine and you could see the ground shake. He didn't look very good out in space. There is no possible way he's going to have the fluidity and change of direction capability to effectively be a three down, standup strong side, outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, and since we've already got a former 4-3 defensive end that was second in the league in sacks and first in forced fumbles, that's where Houston would have to play for the Chiefs. (Unless you want Hali to move over to the strong side to play Vrabel's position.)

I simply do not see Houston being effective in zone pass coverage that the position will demand a lot of the time.

The guy bulked up for the combine, came in at 270 lbs. and looks like he's positioning himself as a 4-3 defensive end.

You spoke of rolling out the offensive line in 2011 unchanged from 2010, saying that they were adequate for the task, but yet you still want to draft Houston while we have Studebaker and Sheffield on the roster with Stud getting more and more reps as the season progressed in 2010. At least to me, the OLB position seems to have better depth and developing experience than a number of other positions on the team.

To pick a guy that is going to be a project for a position that we already have a All-Pro level player at in his prime seems a bit redundant, especially considering that there are a number of positions that could stand an immediate upgrade. Drafting Hali's replacement now would be a bit silly.
Really good post.

I share your hesitation with Houston being unable to keep up with tight ends and the like. I do think if he rounded down a few pounds he'd be better suited to do so.

My question, though: do you think Hali has been a net positive or a net negative for the defense this year?

Your answer to that is my answer to this issue. Hali is pretty freaking lousy at dropping into coverage, but his passrushing makes everybody's life easier. Adding another amazing passrusher will have the same effect.

Especially when we do drop Hali, we'll at least know somebody else can get to the QB. When Hali dropped in 2010, we got bupkiss.

Regarding the offensive line...

I do believe our OL can hold together one more year, warts and all. I do not share that confidence with our OLB corps.

Hali -- All Pro

Vrabel -- purely mentor role, can do nothing on the field

Studebaker -- the OLB you guys seem to want, good at dropping and decent at playing the run, but is not a reliable passrusher

Sheffield -- huge question mark coming back from the injury

We definitely need help at the position, and if Houston drops to us we're lucky.
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Old 03-02-2011, 03:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Really good post.

I share your hesitation with Houston being unable to keep up with tight ends and the like. I do think if he rounded down a few pounds he'd be better suited to do so.

My question, though: do you think Hali has been a net positive or a net negative for the defense this year?

Your answer to that is my answer to this issue. Hali is pretty freaking lousy at dropping into coverage, but his passrushing makes everybody's life easier. Adding another amazing passrusher will have the same effect.

Especially when we do drop Hali, we'll at least know somebody else can get to the QB. When Hali dropped in 2010, we got bupkiss.

Regarding the offensive line...

I do believe our OL can hold together one more year, warts and all. I do not share that confidence with our OLB corps.

Hali -- All Pro

Vrabel -- purely mentor role, can do nothing on the field

Studebaker -- the OLB you guys seem to want, good at dropping and decent at playing the run, but is not a reliable passrusher

Sheffield -- huge question mark coming back from the injury

We definitely need help at the position, and if Houston drops to us we're lucky.
It's not that we don't need help at that position, it's that we need depth at that position. Studebaker, while not a world beater, held his own when he was on the field. And he's shown he can cover. Houston has not and it's questionable if he will be able to do so, especially at the NFL level. And he definitely won't at 270 lbs.

I don't see how the Chiefs can draft a project at that position (and Houston will be a project as he's never been asked to do anything other than rush the passer from a three point stance) when there are bigger holes on the roster.

If a guy like Reed or Acho is there in the second, or Herzlich in the fourth (who, if he checks out medically, is prototype for the strong side OLB spot) or Keiser (who played a OLB in a 3-4 for Stanford this past season) in the fifth, then sure, but the first rounder needs to plug a gap where we have a real need. OT, NT, WR, C all have priority over drafting a guy who looks to be the same type of player as Hali is, without the proven track record of what Hali has accomplished in the NFL.

I don't want Hali on the strong side. I definitely don't want Houston on the strong side as a 3-4 OLB. And I don't think that Houston wants to do anything other than rush the passer, which is why he showed up at 270 lbs. You go to the combine with a specific agenda. If he wanted to show 3-4 teams he could be a standup OLB, he would have came in a 250/255. The guy obviously wants to be a designated pass rusher in a 4-3. And I don't blame him. It's what he's done his entire college career.
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Old 03-02-2011, 04:22 PM   #9
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Well, I'm of the opinion that most 3-4 OLBs are ****ing terrible in coverage.

I love this guy and I think our pass rush would go from mediocre to dynamite overnight.

My only concern is that he only played one year in the 3-4.

Quote:
Studebaker, while not a world beater, held his own when he was on the field. And he's shown he can cover.
The guy ****ing sucks. He had his chance and showed he's nothing special whatsoever. Backup level player.

But seriously, you spend a first round pick on a 3-4 OLB, and you're worried about him in coverage? Uh, hello...if it's a passing play, I want him heading TOWARDS the QB.
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saccopoo View Post
It's not that we don't need help at that position, it's that we need depth at that position. Studebaker, while not a world beater, held his own when he was on the field. And he's shown he can cover. Houston has not and it's questionable if he will be able to do so, especially at the NFL level. And he definitely won't at 270 lbs.

I don't see how the Chiefs can draft a project at that position (and Houston will be a project as he's never been asked to do anything other than rush the passer from a three point stance) when there are bigger holes on the roster.

If a guy like Reed or Acho is there in the second, or Herzlich in the fourth (who, if he checks out medically, is prototype for the strong side OLB spot) or Keiser (who played a OLB in a 3-4 for Stanford this past season) in the fifth, then sure, but the first rounder needs to plug a gap where we have a real need. OT, NT, WR, C all have priority over drafting a guy who looks to be the same type of player as Hali is, without the proven track record of what Hali has accomplished in the NFL.

I don't want Hali on the strong side. I definitely don't want Houston on the strong side as a 3-4 OLB. And I don't think that Houston wants to do anything other than rush the passer, which is why he showed up at 270 lbs. You go to the combine with a specific agenda. If he wanted to show 3-4 teams he could be a standup OLB, he would have came in a 250/255. The guy obviously wants to be a designated pass rusher in a 4-3. And I don't blame him. It's what he's done his entire college career.
Another great post. Some great points.

First of all, let me agree with you that he's not going to be in a Chiefs uniform, much as it breaks my heart (I felt the same way about my #2 and my #3 preferences last year, Clausen and Spiller). Houston's weight gain, even if it is muscle, is certainly a red flag to Pioli. It shows a degree of inconsistency, and while Crennel and Haley could likely pound the guy back to the 255 range if they had to, Pioli wants a guy you don't have to pound, Pioli wants a guy who pounds himself.

Er... you know what I mean.

Three quick points where we disagree:

1. As I detailed in my OP as to the importance of OLB, you truly need worldbeaters at the OLB position. It's that important. You can't have a great defense with just one world-beating passrusher anymore than you can have a great offense with a mediocre QB.

2. I have to go with Claythan on this issue with Stude. You know I love Stude, but he's a backup. He comes in spot situations, gives you the occasional rush, drops into coverage some, ****s up shit on special teams. He's not somebody who's going to give you much in passrushing, and he's definitely not somebody the defense has to adjust for. Just roll your fullback out to take him on and you're fine 90% of the time. Meanwhile, you can concentrate on where Hali is and double- and triple-team Dorsey.

Putting another blue chip at the position makes everybody else on the defense play far more impressively.

3. Every passrusher is a project when you line up a 3-4 defense. There is no such thing as a readymade 3-4 OLB prospect in the NFL. Houston is far more geared with the format than 99% of the passrushers in this draft. I'll take those odds.

By the way...

I like Acho and really like Reed. Neither will last until our second. And everybody else you mentioned is a backup at the NFL level.

If you want a stud starter at OLB, you must drop a 1st for one.
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:51 PM   #11
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Well, I'm of the opinion that most 3-4 OLBs are ****ing terrible in coverage.

I love this guy and I think our pass rush would go from mediocre to dynamite overnight.

My only concern is that he only played one year in the 3-4.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClayWhit View Post
But seriously, you spend a first round pick on a 3-4 OLB, and you're worried about him in coverage? Uh, hello...if it's a passing play, I want him heading TOWARDS the QB.
Absolutely.
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:18 PM   #12
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Well, I'm of the opinion that most 3-4 OLBs are ****ing terrible in coverage.

I love this guy and I think our pass rush would go from mediocre to dynamite overnight.

My only concern is that he only played one year in the 3-4.



The guy ****ing sucks. He had his chance and showed he's nothing special whatsoever. Backup level player.

But seriously, you spend a first round pick on a 3-4 OLB, and you're worried about him in coverage? Uh, hello...if it's a passing play, I want him heading TOWARDS the QB.
That's what you want.

Hell, that's what I want.

But in Crennel's system, you need an OLB that can cover.

He doesn't send both the LOLB and ROLB after the QB all that often.

Vrabel's cover skills are what made him so valuable in the Patriots system.

He only had one season in which he had 9.5 sacks (2003) in Crennel's system, while Willie McGinest had one season in which he had 9 sacks (2002).

The remaining seasons they had around 5 sacks each, because Crennel had one or the other in coverage most of the time.
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:29 PM   #13
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Good player that i would love to have.. if it wasnt for our system. no way he can rush the passer and cover equally well in the nfl..
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:29 PM   #14
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That's what you want.

Hell, that's what I want.

But in Crennel's system, you need an OLB that can cover.
this
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milkman View Post
That's what you want.

Hell, that's what I want.

But in Crennel's system, you need an OLB that can cover.

He doesn't send both the LOLB and ROLB after the QB all that often.

Vrabel's cover skills are what made him so valuable in the Patriots system.

He only had one season in which he had 9.5 sacks (2003) in Crennel's system, while Willie McGinest had one season in which he had 9 sacks (2002).

The remaining seasons they had around 5 sacks each, because Crennel had one or the other in coverage most of the time.
So you would agree that Ayers would be the better pick?

I like Houston but I can't see his big ass in coverage.

And Studebaker is the Thiggy of LB's...The fans root for him, but in reality he is not that good
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