The Detroit Lions had problems running the ball and protecting their quarterback in 2012, but one of the things they did pretty well was play defense. Unfortunately due to the timing of some restructured contracts, the Lions have six defensive starters hitting free agency this offseason. One of the priorities for the team should be to re-sign starting cornerback Chris Houston.
Houston might not be the most household name when you start talking about top-flight NFL defensive backs, but I’d be willing to bet the Lions realize they they are better off with him than without him. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz will most likely want to explore ways to retain Houston as soon as possible. With quality defensive backs at a premium, if Houston hits the open market, he’ll likely get taken in a hurry.
“Corners are tough to find in the NFL,” Schwartz told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “Chris started off the season hurt. He had an ankle sprain coming into the regular season and missed the first couple of games. You realize how much you miss a guy when a guy’s not out on the field.”
Houston is one of those steady-eddie corners who doesn’t make a lot of noise or SportsCenter Top-10 lists, but rarely do you see him being badly burned in coverage or getting out of position. With the strength of the Lions defense being in the front seven, all the defensive backs need to do is play solid coverage and keep the big plays to a minimum–something Houston excels at.
In a six-year NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons and the Lions, Houston has totaled 286 tackles, 11 interceptions (including three for touchdowns), and 71 passes defended.
Other key defensive starters the Lions are going to have to look at possibly re-signing are DE Cliff Avril, LB Justin Durant, LB DeAndre Levy, and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch.