To Draft Or Not To Draft: Chris Houston

In our fourth preview of potential first-round picks, we go back to defense and focus on the secondary. Of all the potential players who might be available to the Chiefs when they're on the clock in the first round, Alabama's Chris Houston might be the one to select.

I know the Chiefs have greater needs along the offensive line now that Will Shields is retired and Chris Terry is in some hot water, but once in a blue moon a player comes along that screams out at you.

The theme in this year's is draft once you get past the top five or 10 picks, you have to pick the best available player, regardless of need. When we started to analyze the Chiefs draft needs, we put cornerback on the list.

In my opinion the best cornerback, or the one that I think will have the most productive NFL career, might be Houston.

I realize he's a small corner, but unlike other 5-10 players, he has a wingspan like a 747 and locomotive speed that more than makes up for his lack of height.

Houston is ranked as the fourth-best cornerback behind Leon Hall (Michigan), Darrelle Revis (Pittsburgh) and Aaron Ross (Texas). He's also the smallest in size and weight, but he's the fastest.

In the NFL speed kills, so on defense you have to be able to make plays. At the same time you have to be feisty and willing to mix it up. You don't play large unless you have confidence.

Houston has that confidence. He excels in man-to-man, bump and run or zone coverage. He can stay with the best wide receivers and the speed of the game in the NFL should be something he can quickly adapt to.

The Chiefs have two aging cornerbacks in Ty Law and Patrick Surtain. They have no one else on the roster at the moment who can line up and start. They let Lenny Walls jump to the St. Louis Rams and last year's fifth-round pick Marcus Maxey hasn't shown anything thus far. That leaves Benny Sapp, who happens to be a beast when blitzing the quarterback but needs work in coverage.

That's why the Chiefs could really use a player of Houston's talent. With his 4.2 speed he'll also make a great special teams gunner. If the Chiefs line up Houston opposite Bernard Pollard, punter Dustin Colquitt might never have a single punt returned for any positive yards.

Houston has modeled himself after his idol, Deion Sanders. The two have spent quite a bit of time talking football in their respective hometown of Austin, Texas.

If Houston can replicate just a part of Sanders' career, he could be a staple in Kansas City for many years to come.

Shut down cornerbacks are a valuable commodity, but Houston won't feel the pressure the top three cornerbacks might because they'll be playing for teams who have a clear need at the position.

In Kansas City he'll have time to grow into the position, and that might make a big difference in how his NFL career progresses. When it's all said and done and we grade this draft in 2012, I think Houston will be the top corner.

Monday: Brady Quinn
Tuesday: Justin Harrell
Wednesday: Ted Ginn, Jr.
Today: Chris Houston
Friday: Ben Grubbs Top Stories