The Detroit Lions have one of the most underrated cornerbacks set to hit the free agent market in Chris Houston, and I have a feeling he could be a steal for somebody if he falls under the radar enough. All the talk this year surrounds guys like Aqib Talib and Sean Smith, who are too inconsistent and will get overpaid based on “upside” (that holds true more for Smith). Meanwhile, Houston is a solid corner who locks down coverage and gets burned sparingly.
Houston is ranked by the Pro Football Focus as the second-best free agent corner behind only Brent Grimes of the Atlanta Falcons, and the release of Dunta Robinson (now with the Kansas City Chiefs) almost certainly sealed the deal of Grimes sticking around in Atlanta. Houston, who is a former Atlanta Falcons CB, might find it tough to get a lump sum of cash on the open market with the surplus of talented CBs hitting free agency, especially since those CBs carry more hype.
The Lions are bereft of talent in the defensive backfield if you don’t include impending FAs Chris Houston and Louis Delmas. While Delmas is guaranteed to hit the open market, Houston is only “expected” to, per the Detroit Free Press. Beat writer Dave Birkett said something crucial in this piece in the Detroit Free Press today, and that is the fact that the Lions have given Houston an offer.
Now this is important, because this is the first conclusive evidence pointing to the fact that the Lions want to keep Houston. It seems obvious at first glance that the Lions will want to keep the player who is easily their best DB, but there were just so many conflicting reports regarding Houston’s future and interest from the Lions. Detroit can’t afford to lose him, and there are reports out there that Houston is a priority for this team.
If Houston does decide to hit the open market, then he would be a great get for any team in need of a cornerback. I am personally pulling for the New England Patriots to add this guy, because he does what Bill Belichick wants his corners to do moreso than other teams- play the run. Last season, for instance, Houston recorded 52 tackles but had just three tackles for loss.
Just because a corner racks up tackles doesn’t mean he gave a lot of catches. Case in point, Houston allowed just 56.4% of everything thrown at him to be completed, per the Pro Football Focus. You simply don’t move the chains on Houston, and the fact that he held quarterbacks to a 78.7 rating when throwing at him is one of the proofs of this.
Houston is a solid corner, and thus is easy to underrate since he doesn’t capture headlines. The Detroit Lions would be wise to keep their beacon of light in the secondary in Motown for the near future, but I’m sure teams like the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers would love to snag this guy on the free agent market.
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