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Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson looks at AFC West players on the verge of a breakout in 2011.
I discussed Lamarr Houston quite a bit in my recent Scouts Eye column profiling all the defensive lines in the AFC West. But he still had to be the choice for me. Houston will be one of the best defensive linemen in the league. I firmly believe that. The Oakland Raiders are deep up front, and he can be brought along somewhat slowly. Houston has an immense talent level and showed very good production as a rookie.
Houston proved to be a great run defender with an excellent combination of power and quickness. He plays low, is quick to shed and will get better and better with this as he enhances his hand placement when taking on a block. And who better than Richard Seymour to teach Houston such a skill?
Houston also is raw as a pass-rusher and should benefit a great deal from watching and studying Seymour in this department as well. Houston just explodes off the football, and I have a hard time coming up with a defensive tackle in the league who is a better athlete than Houston.
Houston was a little up and down during his rookie season, which was to be expected. But he will only be 24 years old when the season starts. As he becomes more comfortable in the NFL and enhances his fundamental skills, I expect those inconsistencies to quickly disappear. Then? Look out.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.