If Tommie Harris' career is done after the 2010 season due to his consistent knee problems it wouldn't be all that surprising for the Chicago Bears to draft a player in the middle rounds who projects as a three technique at the next level. One of those types of prospects who the Bears spoke with at length at the Senior Bowl is Texas defensive tackle Lamarr Houston. The game that likely caught the eye of the Bears' scouts the most, the national championship game against Alabama where you can see Houston making plays all over the field and being highly disruptive.
This is a game where you'd expect to see a good head to head match up between Houston and Alabama offensive guard Michael Johnson, given that Johnson is in his own right a highly regarded prospect, but Houston abused him. Houston abused Johnson and every other player that the Crimson Tide tried to block him with.
Houston is a very fine looking athlete for a defensive tackle at 6-foot-3 305-pounds Houston ran a blistering 4.85 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine a few weeks ago. Like his former teammate in Austin, Henry Melton, Houston is a former RB turned DE but in his own right he made his wound up making a major impact as a DT during his final year in Austin
Houston's stats are more than adequate and very impressive for a first year DT eight sacks to go with 22 tackles for a loss a sign that he spends a lot of time in opponents' back field making plays. He's fast, he's strong he's powerful and everything you look for in a three-technique DT. Some scouts argue he doesn't have the bulk to hold up against the run in the NFL, but he's not going to be asked to "hold up" if he's drafted by the Bears, he's going to asked to get up the field and into the back field.
This is the type of game that he excels at with his EXPLOSIVE first step and ability to play with leverage and get inside with slants and attack the inside shoulder of the guard. Certainly the Bears have a legitimate two, possibly three DTs on the team that are in line to replace Tommie Harris in Israel Idonijae, Jarron Gilbert and there is talk that Melton may be moved inside, however all three of them also project as DE prospects as well. Houston is the most pure three-technique out of the three being the only one over 300-pounds.
Houston is probably not more highly regarded based on one simple fact, he play in the Big-12 home of Gerald McCoy and Ndamukong Suh thought of as the top two prospects in the draft overall and far and away the two best DTs. On that information alone you can see that Houston was a second team All-Big-12 selection for the Longhorns.
Marinelli likes these types of players that are athletes that aren't as strong or as polished to land in the first round of the draft. There is more potential to Houston than he gets credit for and could arguably be a steal if the Bears scoop him up in the third round. The emphasis is that the Bears will go after the best overall prospect available instead of drafting for need in the third round. The safety talent that is likely on the board in the third round may not be the most ideal type of prospect to justify using a third round selection on them. If the Bears aren't in position to grab value in the third round at either safety or O-Line then a player like Lamarr Houston could be their target.
Houston was one of the more impressive DT prospects at the NFL combine and his stock should maintain or improve depending on what type of work out he has for the Texas Pro day on the 31st of March. A very impressive three technique prospect if Houston is there early in round three when the Bears select and the value for the Bears isn't there at either the O-Line or safety spot, it would make sense to go after a Houston because he's an absolute steal at the top of the third round.