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NFL Free Agent Profile: Justin Houston

Should the Broncos consider this Ravens’ outside linebacker?

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

It’s free agency time again! We’ll take a quick glance here at an outside linebacker prospect.

Last year the Baltimore Ravens signed a one-year deal with four-time Pro Bowler OLB Justin Houston, so he’s up for free agency this offseason. Should Denver add him to the room that includes Malik Reed, Bradley Chubb, Jonathon Cooper, and Stephen Weatherly?

Background

Houston was originally drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round (though he likely would’ve gone much earlier had it not been for a failed marijuana test at the NFL Combine). He would play in Kansas City from 2011 until he was released in 2018.

His career stats with the Chiefs included 96 games started, four interceptions, 52 interception yards returned, 14 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries, a defensive touchdown, 78.5 sacks, 382 tackles (319 of those solo), 96 tackles for loss, 118 quarterback hits.

Houston signed with the Colts in 2019, and he played with them for two seasons, recording 32 games, three forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, 19 sacks, and 69 tackles (52 of them solo), 21 tackles for loss, 30 quarterback hits.

As a Raven (2021-present), Houston’s had fifteen games, a pass defended, a fumble recovery, 4.5 sacks, 35 tackles (19 solo), six tackles for loss, and 17 quarterback hits.

Overall, here are his career stats:

  • 149 games played, 143 started
  • 4 interceptions
  • 33 passes defended
  • 18 forced fumbles
  • 14 fumble recoveries
  • 1 defensive touchdown
  • 102 sacks
  • 485 tackles (390 solo)
  • 123 tackles for loss
  • 165 quarterback hits
  • 4 safeties (an NFL record tied with Jared Allen, Ted Hendricks, and Doug English)

Not bad, am I right?

Justin’s Stats

Height: 6’3”
Weight: 270

Professional Accolades

  • 4-time Pro-Bowler (2012-2015)
  • First-team All-Pro (2014)
  • Deacon-Jones Award (2014)

Conclusion

In the end, of course, it’s all about what head coach Nathaniel Hackett needs in his defensive lineup this year. Some fans are even crossing their fingers for a Von Miller comeback, though I’d argue that’s unlikely given his contributions to LA’s Super Bowl win.

In a nutshell, Houston is still a fantastic pass-rusher. He’s flexible, he’s as powerful as ever, and he has the experience to mentor a younger team of players. I can see a lot of reasons to pursue him, even if his speed doesn’t quite match what it used to. If he can show the power and consistency this year, whatever secondary that snatches him (if it’s not the Ravens) will be in good shape.

Poll

Should the Broncos pursue Justin Houston in free agency?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Yes
    (181 votes)
  • 46%
    No
    (158 votes)
339 votes total Vote Now