2011 NFL Mock Draft: Justin Houston To Houston, Says Lance Zierlein

Here’s one we haven’t seen yet. The Houston Chronicle’s Lance Zierlein has reached deep into the well for the Texans at #11 and pulled out Georgia linebacker Justin Houston. The UGA standout is considered a pretty good 3-4 pass-rush prospect in his own right, and if the Texans are left with a board where North Carolina linebacker Robert Quinn and Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller are off the board, it wouldn’t be a complete shocker if they bypassed Missouri linebacker Aldon Smith and went with Houston at #11. This is the organization that picked Kareem Jackson over Kyle Wilson and traded down to the bottom of the first round to select Duane Brown; they are clearly married to their board for better or for worse. Here’s what Lance had to say about the pick:

11. Houston – Justin Houston, OLB/DE, Georgia

Z-Report Says: The first “reach” of the draft and I have that reach tied to the Texans. I will admit that this pick wouldn’t be the favorite in this spot, especially with Amukamara on the board, but Houston is one of the best pure pass-rushing OLBs in this draft and has the type of explosive numbers that will catch the Texans eyes. Keep in mind that Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has coached for the Texans under Vic Fangio’s 3-4 defense and has NFL ties so if he likes Justin Houston, that could help his standing with NFL teams including the Texans who are in dire need of an impact edge rusher. Is Houston stiff in coverage? Yes, however, ability to cover in space is much lower on the priority scale than rushing the passer and Houston has been a productive pass rusher in the SEC which carries some weight with NFL teams.

I would think that Houston would be a solid Texans target should they trade down, but I wouldn’t be terribly happy with picking him at #11. Especially over Amukamara. If you look at it from a football perspective rather than a value perspective though, and value is often extremely relative when it comes to the NFL Draft, it does make some sense for Houston. Both of them.

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