Houston also adds value to the Raiders' first round pick Rolando McClain by helping to give him a solid defensive line to play behind.
Houston is a similar player to McClain is, both possessing great instincts and ability to quickly locate the ball.
Also like McClain, he is a high character player, but very athletic for a defensive tackle. Tom Cable was as good as his word when he said the Raiders wanted experienced players who were productive in college. Houston is another vocal team leader for the defense.
He ran a 4.89 40, and makes a lot of tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
He will be a big upgrade over Gerard Warren, and will help address those "line of scrimmage issues" that Cable talked about.
They did that again with their third round selection, offensive tackle Jared Veldheer from Hillsdale. Once again, he's a value player at a position of need. Veldheer is a great pick here, and almost unbelievably good for a Raider fan base that has suffered badly through recent drafts.
At 6' 8" and 312 lbs, Veldheer runs a 5.0 sec 40, and topped the combine for almost all the agility drills for offensive linemen—very impressive for a guy of that size. That kind of short area quickness makes him a great fit for Cable's zone blocking scheme.
Although Veldheer didn't face top competition at Hillsdale College, he showed very well in the Texas v The Nation game against good quality college players.
Like the other two picks, he is a high character, and a high effort guy with excellent football intelligence who takes his football very seriously.
I see Tom Cable's influence in these picks in a big way, and his influence over Al Davis appears to have been badly underestimated.
In putting together an impressive first three picks, the Raiders have traded down twice and picked up 5th and 6th round picks. In a draft this deep, that could count.
I may wake up tomorrow and it will all be a dream, only to find that they actually picked Bruce Campbell at number 8.
But right now, so far, this is the best Raider draft I have seen in living memory.