Rookie Watch: Houston has vast ability
Oakland Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston has flashed his vast ability with regularity throughout his rookie season. He naturally plays low with good strength. He also has very good movement skills for a man his size (6-foot-3, 305 pounds). Houston plays hard and is good in pursuit. He is a work in progress, but in his case, that should be viewed as a positive.
Houston was a defensive tackle at the University of Texas, but is playing defensive end for the Raiders right now. In time I see Houston as an upfield penetrating three-technique, base power end in the 4-3 and also as an end in the 3-4. That sounds a little like his teammate, Richard Seymour. And who is a better player to learn such things from than Seymour?
I'm not suggesting that Houston will be a future Hall of Famer like Seymour, and their skill sets are obviously quite dissimilar. Houston is noticeably shorter than the 6-6 Seymour, but is a natural leverage player and has long arms. He also doesn't see a lot of time on passing downs, but as his pass-rush arsenal improves, I expect that to change.
|Ranking||Player, position (draft position)||Last week|
|Sam Bradford, Rams QB (first round, No. 1)
The Rams beat the Chargers. What more do you need to say? Its looks like Bradford has found a new No. 1 wideout in Danario Alexander now that Mark Clayton is out for the season.
|Ndamukong Suh, Lions DT (first round, No. 2)
Detroit had a very tough time stopping the Giants' rushing attack on the road. This wasn't Suh's best game, but he is still an outstanding young player.
|Nate Allen, Eagles S (second round, No. 37)
Allen is playing every portion of his position very well. He hits, tackles well, plays the run and the pass and also can blitz the quarterback. What's not to like?
|Mike Williams, Buccaneers WR (fourth round, No. 101)
Kellen Winslow was more of the feature guy for Josh Freeman last week and it obviously wasn't the finest game for Tampa Bay. But that doesn't vastly diminish what Williams has done up to this point.
|Aaron Hernandez, Patriots TE (fourth round, No. 113)
Hernandez had two big drops that would have really helped his box score numbers -- and his team. But it is pretty clear that the Patriots will feature him now that Randy Moss is in Minnesota.
|Jahvid Best, Lions RB (first round, No. 30)
A bye should do Best a lot of good. He's playing with turf toe on both feet and had to do battle with an excellent Giants D -- on the road and with Detroit's third-string QB behind center.
|Earl Thomas, Seahawks FS (first round, No. 14)
Thomas didn't stick out in the Seahawks' road win over the Bears. The entire Seattle secondary benefited a great deal from a fantastic pass rush -- and terrible Chicago protection.
|Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers C (first round, No. 18)
Snapping to QB Ben Roethlisberger for the first time, Pouncey had another very solid effort as the Steelers moved to 4-1.
|Tyson Alualu, Jaguars DT (first round, No. 10)
He is very impressive in both phases of the defensive tackle position and should be a fixture and building block for this defense for years to come.
|Tony Moeaki, Chiefs TE (third round, No. 93)
Moeaki took a backseat to Dwayne Bowe in Kansas City's passing game against Houston. But he still was a valuable contributor, as he has been all season.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Romo out at least 3 weeks after surgery
- Broncos' Moore vows to make up for gaffe
- Gronkowski has 4th surgery on left forearm
- Jaguars' Love on Diabetes: 'I'm a fighter'
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
NFL WEEK 7 PREVIEW