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Lions Scout Anticipates Breakout Year for James Houston in 2024


James Houston’s Anticipated Comeback

Detroit Lions’ James Houston, after a brief but impressive stint in his rookie season, is expected to make a substantial impact in the upcoming 2024 season. Patrick Mularkey, a seasoned scout for the Lions, expressed strong confidence in Houston’s abilities on the Swartz Talkin’ Sports podcast. Mularkey highlighted Houston’s recovery and potential synergy with teammate Aidan Hutchinson to enhance the Lions’ defense.

“He’s back healthy now, and I think he’s going to be a really good partner in crime with Aidan Hutchinson coming off the edge there,” Mularkey remarked, indicating high expectations for the defensive duo.

James Houston Detroit Lions make decision on James Houston

A Promising Future Ahead

Houston, who had an abbreviated season in 2023 due to an ankle injury, had previously shown his prowess by securing 8.0 sacks in just seven games of his debut season. Having been drafted from Jackson State, where he transitioned from an off-ball linebacker to an edge rusher producing commendable college stats—16.5 sacks, 24.5 tackles for loss, and seven forced fumbles—Houston was described as an under-the-radar pick by Mularkey. The scout emphasized his personal stake in Houston’s draft selection, revealing, “That was a kind of guy that went under the radar. Not a lot of teams knew about [him] or had a lot of love for [him]. I kinda put my name on him. I put my stamp on him. We took him, and he, as a rookie—and we kinda thought of him as a developmental guy.”

James Houston – Detroit Lions Linebacker – ESPN

Despite the Lions finishing 23rd in sacks in the previous year, the hopes are high for Houston, with defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn expressing optimism about his growth, “We expect him to come out and—I don’t want to say be the James Houston of the old—but be the James Houston that we know that’s actually going to take another step.” This comment underlines the belief within the team that Houston will not only return to his initial explosive form but will exceed it.

Competition and Growth

Looking ahead, Houston faces increased competition, with the Lions adding new talents like CFL star Mathieu Betts and former first-round pick Marcus Davenport. Still, Mularkey and the coaching staff are optimistic. They anticipate that Houston will leverage his experience and innate skill to cement his role as a key player on the defensive line, potentially elevating the entire team’s performance in the process.

As the Lions gear up for the 2024 season, all eyes will be on James Houston to see if he can fulfill the high expectations set by his scout and coaches and help lead the defense to new heights.

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Written by Jeff Bilbrey

Founder of Detroit Sports Nation - Jeff Bilbrey manages the day to day operations of Detroit Sports Nation as well as all content delivery systems, ad networks and social platforms. Email him at [email protected]

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