Chiefs Host Pass-Rusher With Deion Sanders Connection: Source

Arrowhead Stadium

Getty Arrowhead Stadium, where Armani Watts played for the last four seasons.


he Kansas City Chiefs are doing their due diligence ahead of the 2022 NFL draft, which includes hosting a pass-rusher from the fast-rising Jackson State University.

According to a source, Kansas City brought in Jackson State linebacker James Houston IV this week for a visit. Scott Kennedy was the first to report the visit. The Chiefs were one of 22 teams in attendance at Jackson State’s Pro Day on Monday, March 21.

Houston, a Florida native, began his collegiate career as a redshirt freshman at Florida. After playing for the Gators from 2018 to 2020, Houston transferred to Jackson State, where he switched from linebacker to defensive end and played for NFL Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders. Sanders took over as the JSU head coach in 2020.

During his lone season at Jackson State, Houston played in 13 games, recording 52 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits, and seven forced fumbles, according to the team’s website. Houston was named All-SWAC First Team for his efforts, as well as newcomer of the year for the conference. JSU finished the 2021 season with an 11-2 record, and the program was crowned the SWAC conference champions for the first time since 2007.

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Houston Draws Comparison to Cowboys’ Micah Parsons

Due to his size, Houston will likely have to transition to a hybrid edge/linebacker role in the NFL, which has him being compared to Dallas Cowboys 2021 Defensive Rookie of the Year and NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate, Micah Parsons.

“Micah Parsons is a bigger athlete (6’3″, 246 compared to Houston’s 6’1″, 225 pounds) with more juice, but Houston can play a similar hybrid off-ball linebacker/edge rusher role,” James Fragoza of Pro Football Network wrote on January 20. “His coverage prowess is largely unknown, but he can’t play full-time on the defensive line due to his smaller stature. If a team can figure out the best way to utilize Houston’s skill set, he can build a career in the NFL.”

The Chiefs’ current defensive end room consists of Frank Clark, Mike Danna, Joshua Kaindoh, Austin Edwards, Malik Herring, and Jonathan Woodard. With free-agent Arden Key officially signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars after visiting with the Chiefs, Kansas City might wait until the draft to add to its pass-rush unit.

With improved play from Mike Danna in his second year and much to be learned about 2021 draft pick Joshua Kaindoh, it makes sense that the Chiefs are interested in Houston.

Frank Clark is taking up $13.7 million in cap space for 2022, according to Spotrac. Because of that, it would be wise for the Chiefs to refrain from signing another big-money pass-rusher to play opposite of Clark on the defensive line. Instead, Kansas City could opt to draft a rookie or two for its pass-rush unit, which would add talent to that position on a rookie deal.

Twitter Users React to Houston Visiting With KC

Twitter users reacted to Houston visiting the Chiefs ahead of the draft.

“Love this, Houston was ultra productive at JSU, pretty undersized for an edge player in our scheme, but seeing as though it seems like we may be implementing some 3-4 into Spags system, a guy like him would make sense in the later rounds to move around as a pass rush specialist,” Arrowhead Live wrote.

“Would be a good pick up for KC via draft..” another user wrote.

“I like this move by the Chiefs and front office,” said another fan.


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