Could James Houston alter the Detroit Lions draft plan?

Edge rusher is regarded as a high priority for the Lions in this year's draft, but could James Houston alter that idea?
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James Houston was an interesting flier for the Detroit Lions in the 2022 NFL Draft, after a big final season playing for Deion Sanders at Jackson State. It took a while for him to play, as lamented by then defensive line coach Todd Wash, but once he did he was a revelation with eight sacks in seven games as a rookie.

The breakout buzz for Houston heading into his second season did come to fruition due to a fractured ankle he suffered in Week 2. He was out until the NFC Championship Game, so his development into being more than a pure pass rusher never got off the ground.

The Lions' pass rush issues last season are well-documented and don't need to be full rehashed. The additions of defensive tackle DJ Reader, and more especially edge rusher Marcus Davenport, will help. But adding an edge rusher in the draft later this month feels likely, perhaps early.

Could the idea of a healthy James Houston alter the Lions' draft plan?

if Houston had been healthy throughout last season, it's fair to assume he would have been very helpful to the Lions' pass rush off the edge opposite Aidan Hutchinson.

To that end, when talking about the Lions drafting an edge rusher, Houston should not be forgotten about.

On a recent episode of the Detroit Sports Podcast, John Maakaron of talked about Houston.

On the "One of These Years" podcast last week, Colton Pouncy of The Athletic noted how general manager Brad Holmes went a little off-topic to mention how people tend to forget about Houston.

"Mid-conversation, as he's taking about Reader, he kinda mentions James Houston. He's like 'a lot of people keep forgetting about that guy', because he was injured, and he had eight sacks as a rookie, and that's a guy we still like."

There's definitely something to the notion that you never have too many good pass rushers. The Lions may add an edge rusher in the draft, but Houston is now flying under the radar in a way he was not a year ago.


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