Back at the 2010 NFL Combine, Lamarr Houston was a healthy 305 pounds for a defensive tackle. He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the second round as such, but over his four years in the league, he has completely transformed his body for each new role that he was given.
According to a report from Sports Illustrated, Houston was 275 pounds in 2013 with the Raiders. No longer was his hand even in the dirt, as he was a stand-up pass-rusher from the outside linebacker position. Of course, that was in Oakland’s 3-4 defense. Now he’s a member of the Chicago Bears and part of Mel Tucker‘s 4-3 scheme.
In this 4-3 system, Houston will be playing a traditional defensive end position, opposite the also newly-signed Jared Allen. And in this latest update from SI, Houston said that he’s down to 268 pounds — a perfect weight for his new role.
At 6-foot-3 and 268 pounds, Houston will certainly be a fast, but powerful force from his DE position. Along with Allen, the two should help the Bears’ DL have its best pass rush in quite some time. Factor in a guy like Willie Young as well as second-year players David Baas and Cornelius Washington, and one can see how improved that position is from last year where it was basically an aged and slowed down Julius Peppers.
Not to mention, defensive tackle looks like a much improved group as well with Jeremiah Ratliff returning and healthy, as well as Nate Collins, Stephen Paea and rookies Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton.
Those 10 players will make the defensive line one of the strongest units on the team, which will undoubtedly see the defense improve drastically from their absolutely abysmal showing in 2013.
It’s clear no one in the Bears’ organization is messing around. That much is made evident by Houston’s focus and comments made by players and coaches thus far. This team has a window for the next few seasons with this dynamic offense and they need to take advantage of it. A major key to that is improvement on the defensive side of the ball, and from the looks of it, that’s exactly what’s happened this offseason.