The Detroit Lions kept adding to their defense in the sixth round of the 2022 draft, taking Jackson State edge rusher James Houston at pick No. 217.
The Detroit Lions have clearly prioritized defense in the 2022 draft, not that it’s the wrong approach given the unit’s broad struggles last season. With their second sixth-round pick, pick No. 217, the Lions selected Jackson State edge rusher James Houston.
Houston started his college career at Florida, where he played a rotational role as an inside linebacker and totaled 100 tackles and 4.5 sacks over four seasons. He transferred to Jackson State to play for Deion Sanders in 2021. He is Jackson State’s first draft pick under Sanders.
Last season Houston moved out to the edge and dominated the lower level, leading all FCS players with seven forced fumbles, along with 16.5 sacks (tied for second), 70 total tackles and 24.5 tackles for loss (second in FCS).
Houston is very undersized (6-foot-1, 225 pounds), which pointed to him possibly going undrafted even more than any level of competition concerns from last season. But a good showing at the East-West Shrine Game pushed him into draftable territory.
James Houston brings versatile option to Lions linebacking corps
The Lions added Oklahoma State linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez with their first sixth-round pick on Saturday. Houston is another edge rusher brought aboard in this draft, joining Aidan Hutchinson (No. 2 overall) and Josh Paschal (No. 46 overall).
Given his experience playing off the ball early in his college career, and doing so in the SEC before he transferred, Houston brings some noted versatility to go with his potential. That may lead to him getting a better chance to stick than some other sixth-rounders taken outside the top-200 overall might. Beyond his edge rushing prowess, the Lions may be considering how he’d fit as an off-the-ball linebacker.
Houston’s nickname is “Da Problem”. The Lions, even as sixth-round flier, are hoping he becomes a problem for opposing offenses.