NFL Top 100 Players of 2013: Justin Houston


Dec 23, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) is pressured by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston (50) in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Since the end of the 2010 NFL season, NFL Network has been doing a weekly segment counting down the top 100 players from the previous season. The show usually starts in early May and takes us into mid to late June. As we all know, this is a dead time for the NFL and they love to compile and countdown their lists. What makes this one so unique, is the players selected are chosen and voted on by the players themselves, making this one of the most respected and honorable lists to be a part of. So far in this years countdown, four Chiefs have already made the top 100. Brandon Flowers made his debut at number 75, followed by Dwayne Bowe at 65 and Derrick Johnson at 59. While DJ and Bowe have made the list before, the one who seems to be making the most headline the last few days is Chiefs Pro-Bowl linebacker, Justin Houston.

Houston makes his debut to the Top 100 at number 49.  Houston finished first on the team in 2012 with 10 sacks while also racking up 66 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 1 interception. When asked about his reaction to his debut on the list, Houston said “I was very excited and pleased to know that people think a lot about me, it says a lot to be ranked that highly.” Houston was also asked if he was shocked to see himself ranked at 49, after a dreadful 2-14 season, “I was, I never even thought anything about it. After the season was over and I had the Pro-Bowl selection, that was my goal and seeing myself this high, it was a shock to me and I’m sure it was a shock to a lot of people.”

Houston’s production has been excellent for Kansas City. He started slow in 2011, his rookie season, only having two quarterback hits and three hurries in his first 11 games. Since, Houston has been a terror to opposing QB’s, tallying up 13 sacks and 57 quarterback pressures in his last 20 games. Pro Football Focus did a performance based value piece on the Chiefs and  Houston was number one. Houston isn’t just a pass rushing force, he finished 3rd with run stops (28) and was also the fourth overall LB in a “3-4” defense last season according to PFF.

The sky is limit when thinking about Houston. Reports out of OTA’s are that new Defensive Coordinator, Bob Sutton, is working on timely blitz schemes and wants the Chiefs to have a more attacking style defense. Houston and Chiefs other Pro-Bowl linebacker, Tamba Hali, should benefit the most. Hali will most likely still demand the most double teams from opposing offensive lines, leaving Justin Houston with just one man to beat. Houston is known to be a worker for this football team and his production has shown no signs of slowing down. Houston will be due a big payday in the next few seasons which will raise questions on what to do moving forward with him and Hali, but for now fans should just sit back and enjoy watching this young man become elite.

Houston is the fourth player to make the list for the Chiefs so far and he shouldn’t be the last. Jamaal Charles should make the list at some point, bringing the total to 5 for Kansas city on the top 100 of 2013. Congrats to this well deserved respect for Houston from his peers and you can check out his video right here in case you missed it.

How does the rest of the Kingdom feel about where Houston was voted? Overrated or Underrated?