Houston's stock will continue to rise

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- ESPN is in the middle of unveiling this year's top 100 offensive and defensive players, but I'm already going to issue an opinion for the 2015 version.

Linebacker Justin Houston will be ranked higher next year than he was this season, when he's No. 42.

Imagine where Houston might be if he'd played an entire season last year. He was tied for the AFC lead in sacks with 11, when in the season's 11th game, Houston dislocated his elbow, ending his 2013 regular season.

So it's not a stretch to believe Houston will have another big season for the Kansas City Chiefs and, if he stays healthy, challenge for the sack title. Then he will rise above the ranking of 42.

A better question is whether Houston will be playing for the Chiefs when he is ranked higher. He's in the final year of his contract and the sides have had no success in coming to an agreement on a long-term contract.

So I'll make no prediction yet on that issue.