KC Chiefs: Justin Houston Underrated On NFL Top 100


If Justin Houston is the 27th-best player in the NFL, the talent level is at an all-time high.

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If you lead the NFL sacks, and come up just one short of the single-season NFL record, it would make sense for fans to consider you a top five defensive player — at worst.

Which would mean if you land 27th on NFL’s list of Top 100 Players of 2015, something is wrong with the system.

Which, as anyone reading this knows, is the case with Houston.

NFL.com writer Dan Hanzus considered the Houston slight one of five big takeaways from the unveiling of the number 30-21 ranked players.

"Not enough love for Justin Houston, who lands at No. 27 in the season after he lit up opposing linemen for 22 sacks. We get the feeling he’d earn his rightful place in the top 20 if he were playing in a more visible market than Kansas City."

Opinions to the side, let’s take a look at some raw numbers.

In four seasons, Houston has 48.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and an interception, to go along with 234 total tackles. He also missed five games during the 2013 season to an injury, and started only 10 during his rookie season.

J.J. Watt, whom many consider the best defensive player in the game, and will end up in the top five on this list, has slightly better numbers.

In the same amount of seasons, while starting all 64 games, Watt has 57 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, 11 fumble recoveries, one interception and 294 tackles.

If you give Justin Houston the five games he missed to injury, his numbers are even more comparable.

Watt has become this super-human figure to media and fans, and probably is the best defensive player in football. However, if he ends up ranked, say third, and Houston 27th, those voting need their rights revoked.

In reality it’s not anything to lose sleep about. It doesn’t affect the games or anything really outside of fans complaining, but it’s a fan’s right to complain.

Hanzus could be correct in his assumption that playing in small-market Kansas City hurts Houston, but the next defensive player listed ahead of him at 24, defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, isn’t exactly playing in New York or Boston.

Suh, who singed with the Miami Dolphins this past offseason, had played his entire career in the Midwest with Detroit.

Safety Earl Thomas however, ranked 21, is in a market in Seattle that has grown 94 percent in the past four years, and has been helped by the success of the Seahawks.

So, while market size may play some role, Houston’s numbers, and the fact that he’s been named a Pro Bowler the past three seasons, should be enough to propel him closer toward the top spots.

No player has had more sacks over the past two seasons than Houston’s 33 — not even Watt.

Apparently none of that matters to those who are compiling the list.

There is no doubt it’s hard to compare players for something this large, especially when different positions are involved.

But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out Justin Houston is, at worst, a top-20 NFL player.

Now, if the Chiefs can just get him on the field.

Next: Should The Chiefs Re-sign Joe McKnight

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