Patriots Draft: Focus On CB Chris Houston

The New England Patriots liked what the saw of Chris Houston when they reviewed tape on the Arkansas cornerback. They've been in contact with him numerous times since. Dan Leberfeld caught up with this top draft prospect to ask him a few questions about college, playing against the top WRs in the Draft and even a little about his mentor Deion Sanders.

Q) What was it like facing the other team's top receiver every week?

Houston: We wanted to have a good defense so we had to focus on the run game and I asked the coach could I hold the best wide receiver on the team and kind of take him out of the game. He gave me the go ahead and each game I'd break down the opponent and study the film.

Q) Who are some of the best receivers you faced?

Houston: Dwayne Jarrett is real long. Sydney Rice is probably the most athletic, quick jumper. Robert Meachem, he's got the speed. (Dwayne) Bowe is real physical and Courtney Taylor is a great route runner.

Q) What do you need to prove?

Houston: That I can play off and locate the ball better.

Q) What about run support?

Houston: I didn't get a lot of opportunities for run support because we were in man so much and with the receivers running down the field the coaches told me to stick to my man unless it's cover two, then I'd come up for the run. My run support can get a lot better.

Q) What is the fastest forty that you have run?

Houston: In Orlando on the track I was running 4.22, 4.23 recently, training with Coach Tom Shaw.

Q) Aside from being a good corner, you are also considered a very good gunner on special teams . . .

Houston: I take pride in special teams being a gunner. Stopping a punt is just like a touchdown for the offense once you stop them on the goal line. All three years I played it, from 04-06. It was something that was fun to do. I like running past a dude and if they didn't fair catch it, I'd get to him. I just love flying down the field.

Q) Why did you come out of school early?

Houston: I prayed to God and let Him lead me. Then with what I did this season holding the better receivers, I feel like if I can play the best receivers that are great, I'll probably have a chance at the next level if they have a chance. That was the thought process.

Q) What did you measure in at, at the combine?

Houston: I think they had me right at 5-10, weighed in at 185.

Q) When did you realize you had special speed?

Houston: I've been the fastest in elementary school. Middle school I was the fastest. High school I was the fastest. I went out there in 11th grade in clothes and I saw everybody running and the coach didn't want me to run because I think I twisted my ankle, but I still ran with clothes on and still ran a 4.34.

Q) What is is like having Deion Sanders as your mentor?

Houston: I talk to Deion just about all the time. He's part owner of the (AFL) Austin Wranglers, so he comes to Austin and I live in Austin. We sit down and talk about a lot of different things. He has a condo down there and I'll go talk to him, hang out, eat together.

Q) What advice has Deion given you?

Houston: Just told me to be myself and don't put pressure on myself. He said it's nothing different than what you've been doing, stay low in your back pedal, and showed me how to put on the brakes.

Q) Can you beat Deion's forty time?

Houston: Yes, but it'll be hard. I think he said he ran a 4.26 and a 4.27 and he said when he ran he just kept on running straight to the locker room.

Patriots Insider Take: New England is pretty high on Houston. After checking in on him during the Senior Bowl, they watched him at the Combine, stopped in at his Pro Day and even invited him for a visit to Foxborough. Houston is considered one of the top corners expected to be available when the Patriots are on the clock in the first round. With the whole Asante Samuel situation still up in the air, the Patriots may be inclined to take Houston if he falls to them with either the 24th or 28th pick in the first round. Although many mocks have the Patriots taking Michael Griffin, Aaron Ross, or even Darrelle Revis, it's possible they'll all be off the board by the time New England is on the clock. Houston would be a solid pick to shore up a unit that has had significant trouble keeping healthy bodies on the field the past few seasons.(Mock Draft Muncher).

Dan Leberfeld is a long time contributor for Jets Confidential on the network. In addition, Dan's work can be found on the MSG Network. You can also hear him as a regular host on Sirius NFL Radio.

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