The Detroit Lions defense has struggled in recent years, so it’s easy to see that they’ve been a problem. Perhaps the biggest issue is that they haven’t had a problem of their own.
That’s going to change in a big way with the addition of linebacker James Houston from Jacksonville State. The Lions nabbed Houston with the 217th pick, and he comes packing a serious penchant for making quarterbacks feel the pain as well as a solid nickname as well.
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Joining reporters on a conference call after he was picked on Saturday, April 30, Houston explained that his nickname is “da problem,” as in the old axiom “Houston, we have a problem.”
Houston himself has been a big problem for opposing offenses, and that’s true whether or not he has played at Florida or Jackson State. While playing with Jackson State, Houston played for Deion Sanders, who famously chastised NFL teams for not paying attention to the JSU pro day. Houston becomes Sanders’ first-ever player drafted into the league as coach.
Detroit paid attention, and could end up with a steal of a player as a result. It’s possible he immediately vaults to the top of having the best nickname in the locker room.
Lions Praised for Scouring HBCU for Houston
Detroit may have managed to find a steal in Houston, and if that’s the case, it will be due to the good work of Detroit’s scouting staff as well as general manager Brad Holmes. Holmes was lauded by Steve Wyche of the NFL Network for showing up and taking the chance on Houston for his roster.
“Love how Lions GM Brad Holmes, who played at North Carolina A&T drafted Jackson State LB James Houston. HBCU lineage. Both earned their opportunities to shine in the NFL,” Wyche tweeted.
Holmes himself is a HBCU alumni, so he knows the punch that players from that conference can pack when coaches and scouts look closely. To that end, he may have done a good thing in beating a lot of folks to the punch on Houston, who could do some good things for the roster.
Houston’s Stats & Highlights
It isn’t just fun and games with Houston’s name that the Lions will be getting. He’s a monster of a player, and has put up stats while playing college football. Last season, Houston put up 70 tackles, 24.5 tackles for-loss, 7 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions and 1 defensive touchdown to go with 16.5 sacks. Houston played at Florida in 2020 and put up 37 tackles, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble. It’s safe to say his career took off when he played for Sanders.
Houston was also a first-team All-SWAC player, a STATS FCS All-American and an FCS Coaches All-American last year. On the field, he packs a punch as the highlights show:
It’s easy to see what kind of a problem Houston has been when he has been on the field and playing in a big way. The Lions hope he can continue to represent a problem for the competition when he gets into the NFL.