Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

08 Mar 2010

Atlanta Deals Chris Houston to Detroit

Let's see... Detroit's secondary has been Edsel-riffic for two years now. Chris Houston was a second-round pick just three years ago. Highly-drafted cornerbacks often take three or even four years to develop. Rashean Mathis and Corey Webster broke out in season four; Nnamdi Asomugha never intercepted a pass until season four. And to take a gamble on Houston's talent finally emerging, all the Lions have to do is give up a sixth-round pick and switch places with Atlanta in the fifth round? Uh, yeah, that works.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 08 Mar 2010

26 comments, Last at 09 Mar 2010, 7:23pm by bigwalt2990


by Marko :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 8:10pm

In related news, Detroit deals Chris Atlanta to Houston, and Houston deals Chris Detroit to Atlanta.

by Independent George :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 8:22pm

I was going to jump in with a Steve Austin joke, but then I realized there's no team in Austin.

by roguerouge :: Tue, 03/09/2010 - 8:21am

Forrest Gump: "There was Dallas, from Phoenix; Cleveland - he was from Detroit; and Tex... well, I don't remember where Tex come from."

by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 8:20pm

Does anyone else get the idea that Detroit might very rapidly become the second or third-worst team in the NFC North as Chicago and Minnesota decline and Stafford develops? All it would take at this point is Gerald McCoy/Corey Williams stopping the run and Stafford becoming a replacement level quarterback, neither of which appear particularly farfetched.

by BigDerf :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 8:52pm

I've been saying it to everyone i know since their draft last year. I like the way Detroit is building. I think they are a playoff competitive team in 2011. I like Stafford to develop... I like Pettigrew to be big in that offense and a big part of Stafford's development. On defense they got some young good players in Ernie Simms and Louis Delmas. I've like the veterans they've been adding. Everyone gets on them for adding veterans... but I feel like quality young guys develop better when the talent around them is better. I feel like a team that forces young shitty players on the field hurts the development of their good young players.

The NFC North is gonna be a very open division for the next few years. I don't think any of their teams are really elite. Packers have O-line problems and I'm not sure on their defense as Woodson keeps getting older. Vikings have a QB problem either this year or next... whenever Farve leaves. The Bears have Jay Cutler who can either give you a good 30 TD/17 INT season where he is getting lucky or a horrible 24/20 season if he's not. So the Lions can squeeze into competition. They'll have the advantage of the easier schedule compared to their division opponents....This year playing the Rams and Bucs instead the harder opponents from the West and South divisions.

by Theo :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 9:35pm

Packers will be better for 4 more years.
Vikings will be better for 2 more years.
Bears will be better for another year.

At least.

by tuluse :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 9:46pm

The Vikings are rather old. Winfield is on the wrong side 30 especially for a corner. The line already experienced decline last year, Brett Favre is 100 years old.

They do have Kevin Williams, Jerad Allen, and AP, and their receivers look good.

So I don't know whether they'll be better or worse in 2 or 3 years. I suspect it depends on finding a replacement for Favre.

by tuluse :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 9:44pm

Who's going to rush the passer and who is going to block for Stafford?

This team is razor thin talent wise on both lines.

by lionsbob :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 9:53pm

The defensive is not razor thin talent wise. The offensive line might be, but the defensive line is not that bad right now-even before the draft.

by BigDerf :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 10:56pm

Note I'm saying next year the Team will be in playoff contention. Next year. Already working to fill D-Line (I think they'll go d-tackle in the draft) and have a whole offseason after this one to fix the o-line.

Note I'm a Giants fan... so this isn't homerism. Just see the pieces.

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 03/09/2010 - 12:10pm

The Lions appear now to be a competently run franchise, going about things the right way. That's a huge step forward for them, but as a Texans fan I can assure you that building up from the sort of epic levels of suckitude they achieved can be a lengthy and painstaking process, even with excellent drafting. I also think that while there's a pretty good chance Stafford can have a Kerry Collins/Eli Manning level of career, there's very little that he's significantly better than that. If the Lions build a contender, he may be part of it but he won't be the reason for it. The Packers have a young elite or near-elite quarterback. That can hide a multitude of sins. It will be hard for any other team in the division to consistently outperform the Packers for some time to come.

by lionsbob :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 8:31pm

Is there that much of a difference between Dunta Robinson and Chris Houston the past 2 seasons?

by DM (not verified) :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 8:44pm

Yes. Chris Houston stinks, Dunta Robinson does not. They're not remotely similar players.

by lionsbob :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 8:51pm

Eh, I guess I have not seen the "non-stinky" version of Dunta Robinson the past couple of seasons and Chris Houston was at the very least a league average corner in 2008.

by DM (not verified) :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 9:03pm

The Falcons gave up the 6th most 20+ yard pass plays. The Texans were 26th. Of course there's a lot that goes into that, but Chris Houston won't be missed.

by TruFalcons (not verified) :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 9:41pm

Possibly because Dunta missed the second half of the 08 season with an ACL tear and was only a season removed from that in 09 - he missed all of training camp and was then asked to learn a new defense.

Chris Houston a league average corner in 08? He looks better when he doesn't have to cover # 1 receivers sure, he benefitted from Domonique Foxworth's presence greatly. From what I understand that's not why the Lions are bringing him in.
The biggest loss to the Falcons from this trade will be in pass interference penalties - Houston seems to have a neck problem which prevents him from turning his head.

by lionsbob :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 9:52pm

Dunta Robinson hurt his knee in 2007, not 2008.

Chris Houston will hopefully be the #2 CB on the team.

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 03/09/2010 - 12:22pm

Robinson missed the first half of 08, not the second. But it's certainly true that he was not in training camp for two consecutive seasons, and may well have a significant rebound still to come from an athletic standpoint, given that and the well known lengthy period needed for full recovery from ACL injuries. It's also true that in 2009 he was playing under a new DC and a new DB coach, with a scheme that involved more cover-1/3 and which frequently required him to follow the opponent's #1 receiver. All that said, he did not play very well in either 2008 or 2009 - even in run support, where he was previously excellent. He's still relatively young, and for that and the reasons given above he could perfectly well rebound to pre-injury form. Then again, he might not. As a Texans fan, I am glad that Smith and Kubiak were not prepared to give him the kind of deal the Falcons have: for my money, the potential rewards do not adequately compensate for the risk.

by Just Another Falcons Fan (not verified) :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 9:30pm

Chris Houston always has his back to the QB and his eyes on the WR. He's automatic pass interference on deep balls.

by Just Another Falcons Fan (not verified) :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 9:31pm

Chris Houston always has his back to the QB and his eyes on the WR. He's automatic pass interference on deep balls.

by langsty :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 10:03pm

Yeah, this. The kid just can't get his head around on the ball. Aside from that he's a solid player, and at the very least he could be a decent nickel corner for most teams. I don't think the Falcons secondary is worse off without him though.

by lionsbob :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 9:35pm

True, and it isn't like Dunta is much better (9 penalties, Houston had 8 penalties).

I guess I don't see Dunta Robinson worth the contract he signed with the Falcons.

by DM (not verified) :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 9:42pm

He's not, but he's also way better than Houston, who is a dime a dozen player. I half expect that this time next year we see "Lions release Chris Houston" on the transaction wire.

by TruFalcons (not verified) :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 9:48pm

There's no XP to discuss it, even though it's the 3rd biggest contract of free agency so far, so I guess it's fair to discuss it in here.

The Falcons needed to get a guy who can match-up with number 1 receivers, something Robinson has done his entire career. We saw what Chirs Houston did against number 1 guys in 09, and the next man up would be Brian Williams, an aging vet coming back from an ACL tear. What were the other options?

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 03/09/2010 - 12:25pm

Actually, for much of his career in Houston Robinson played a side of the field. It was only really in 2009 that he was fairly consistently assigned to follow the other team's top receiver. In all honesty, I think he's better suited to a zone scheme - with his run support ability (assuming it returns now he's happy) and ball skills he could be an elite Tampa-2 corner, but he's not really a lock-down man-to-man guy.

by bigwalt2990 (not verified) :: Tue, 03/09/2010 - 7:23pm

Chris Houston has to be better than Phillip Buchanon and Anthony Henry, and hopefully better than Will James. Plus He's gotta be better than anyone you would find in the 6th round. Lions+