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Kansas City Chiefs LB Justin Houston Ranked “Surprising” 49th in NFL Network’s Top 100 Players

May 31st, 2013 at 9:21 PM
By Aaron Friedland

During the NFL's second season there are countless number of rankings that are conducted by different sources, whether it's team rankings or player rankings. Now the NFL Network is doing their Top 100 Players of 2013 and coming in at a surprising 49th is Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston. Houston is only heading into his third season as an NFL pro and is ranked ahead of some of the game's notable players that include: Richard Sherman, Victor Cruz, Jared Allen, and Ben Roethlisberger. This is why Houston's placement is one of the most surprising of the ranks, because of his short career so far and because of the Chiefs lack of wins in recent seasons.

'Justin Houston' photo (c) 2011, Mike Morbeck - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

But it shows the testament to the type of player Justin is and will become. With just two quarterback hits and three hurries in his first 11 NFL games, Houston's breakout game came against the Chicago Bears in 2011 where he registered three sacks and finished his rookie year with five and a half total take downs. And in 2012, Justin became a dynamic pass-rusher when he led the Chiefs with ten sacks to go along with 66 tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception. In just his second year, Houston had one more sack than Pro Bowler Tamba Hali and these two guys will look to become a forceful duo on the outside in 2013. When asked what his reaction was when he found out he was ranked so high, Houston responded:

"I was very excited and pleased to know that a lot of people think a lot about me. So it says a lot to be ranked that high."

He is one of the more underrated linebackers in the National Football League and arguably the best draft pick former General Manager Scott Pioli made for the Chiefs. A standout out of University of Georgia, Houston was the Chiefs third round pick in 2011 and just two years later is proving to be one of the steals of that draft. Now with a whole new regime in Kansas City including new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, #50 should have plenty more opportunities to get to the QB in this newly installed attack-style defense. He was named to the Pro Bowl a year ago as a replacement but in the coming years Houston should prove to be a first ballot pick to Honolulu.

Three other Chiefs are also on this list of 100 and they include LB Derrick Johnson at No. 59, WR Dwayne Bowe at No. 65, and CB Brandon Flowers at No. 75. One more is to be selected and that's anticipated to be RB Jamaal Charles. Where he will be ranked remains to be seen. 

But Justin Houston deserves to be on this list and ranked as high as he is.  Playing on a team that has had their fair share of losses lately won't get him much recognition. The Chiefs and their loyal fan base hope that all changes in 2013. 

Chiefs Nation: What do you think of Mr. Houston's ranking?

Tags: Brandon Flowers, Derrick Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, Football, Justin Houston, Kansas City, Kansas City Chiefs, NFL

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