LaMarr Houston, The Raiders New Minister of Defense

Yusuf HassanCorrespondent IAugust 13, 2010

In the glamorous world of the NFL, where quarterbacks’ girlfriends are coveted more than the guys in the trenches, who protect the skilled players—I’m reminded of a television show from the 1980’s titled the “Fall Guy,” which starred Lee Majors. The theme song, about the stunt man went: I’m the unknown stunt man who makes Eastwood look so fine.”

At times, the guys in the trenches are over-looked on the offensive as well as defensive side of the ball. When children are asked, “Who is your favorite NFL player,” children respond with a plethora of QB’s, RB’s, over-hyped, over-paid, self-indulged WR’s, but rarely if ever, does a child mention an offensive or defensive linemen.

When my memory takes me back to great Super Bowl moments, I too, think of great quarterback comebacks, but I never remember the left-tackle who prevented the sack. Nor he I remember the guys on defense who take a stand to give the great QBs, WRs, and RBs one more shot at glory.  

 In an ESPN Insider column Mel Kiper misspelled LaMarr Houston’s name after bashing the Oakland Raiders for drafting not drafting the heralded Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen. In return, Kiper graded the Raiders 2010 draft a C-plus, much lower than most NFL enthusiasts.

Nevertheless, the Raiders and their fans were overjoyed with their 44 pick LaMarr Houston.

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 After Kiper used logical reasoning—instead of his slightly publicized Bro-mance with Clausen, he commented, “I'm honestly starting to think I really underrated this guy (Houston). I look at the measurables and in terms of combine tests, he's better almost across the board than Gerald McCoy. But that's just the athleticism. In terms of tackles for loss he also topped McCoy, playing a similar schedule in the Big 12…”

But Kiper isn’t the only analyst who overlooked Houston. Kiper went on to say:

“If this guy becomes a big impact player early in his career I'll no longer be surprised. As I look back at what he did, it's another reason to think I may have undersold what Oakland did in the draft. Houston could be a steal.

Most draft experts listed Houston as a second rate defensive lineman behind his fellow Big 12 linemen Suh and McCoy. But while Suh and McCoy were partying on Jan, Houston was scratching and clawing in the trenches, against his current Raiders’ teammate Rolando McClain, for a national championship.

When asked about the Texas Longhorns 2010 defense, Michael Pearle publisher of insidetexas.com, was quick to comment, “Losing a guy like Lamarr Houston, he was so underrated.  The guy was such a warrior.”

Furthermore, what many NFL draft scouts neglect is desire—no test, besides game action, measures the intensity and desire of a player.


Similar to “the train that could” or the 100lbs mother who lifted an automobile off her child—when experts say it’s impossible, desire gives rise to hope, which manifests into reality that defies all notions of improbability. Like the flower that erupts from beneath the cold concrete sidewalk, after logic had said it could not survive without sunlight, and it lacks the strength to overcome such dire opposition, Houston too defies the predictions of so-called experts. And when the dust settled and the vainglorious illusion had dissipated, it was LaMarr Houston on top—and Tony Romo beneath- for two sacks.

Raiders Nation, what do you think of LaMarr Houston?


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