NFL Draft

DeAndre Houston-Carson Brings Instincts and Insight

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As the countdown to the NFL Draft continues, most prospective draftees have just one thing left to do: wait.

William & Mary safety DeAndre Houston-Carson is no exception. After a solid outing at the NFL Combine, including a 4.54-second 40-yard dash, Houston-Carson confidently stood behind his numbers at his March 17 Pro Day, electing only to showcase his abilities in coverage.

The Chargers are among the teams closely monitoring Houston-Carson. Even after signing Dwight Lowery and re-signing Jahleel Addae, San Diego still has a need at the position due to Eric Wedde leaving for Baltimore and Jimmy Wilson flaming out last season.

Enter Houston-Carson, an intuitive tackler with superlative coverage skills for a safety. His play at William & Mary warrants mid- to late-round consideration, but with the right system he has a chance to develop into an upper-echelon starter.

After three years at cornerback, Houston-Carson seamlessly switched to free safety as a senior and posted 109 tackles and four interceptions, one of which was returned 94 yards for a TD.

Besides his admirable work in the secondary, Houston-Carson also excels on special teams. He participated on coverage teams and as a gunner during his four years with the Tribe, blocking nine kicks in that time.

Houston-Carson is a low-risk selection. He has the “I’ll do whatever this team needs from me” attitude and boasts significant experience in several positions throughout the secondary. Even if he doesn’t immediately find his way into a starting role, he is sure to impress on special teams.

Where Houston-Carson really separates himself is in the interview process, a fact that cannot be overstated when dealing with the character-conscious Chargers.

“I think that football is only a part of my life’s calling,” he told us in an exclusive interview last week.

“Honestly, if you play in the NFL, what’s the average [career length], three-and-a-half years? If you make it to double-digits, you are tremendously blessed.”

Houston-Carson candidly expounded upon his perspective on the game.

“So, by the time I leave the league, I would be 34, 35 years old. And that’s if I have an outstanding career. I think it would be kind of near-sighted, on my behalf, if I were to say football was my only life’s calling. I do see it as a step.”

Not many athletes consider alternatives while preparing to turn pro, yet Houston-Carson seems to remain grounded in his beliefs. At a time where he is the subject of severe scrutiny, he continues to show gratitude for everything and everyone who helped him reach this point.

“All the great relationships that I’ve built, a lot of the great life lessons that I’ve learned have been through sports,” he said. “I think that I can use that to pass that on to future generations or the people who are going to be with me during the next stages of my life.”

Wisdom like that is not easily taught, but for the Chargers, it can be acquired in a matter of weeks. And with a sudden and serious leadership void in the back end of the secondary, that opportunity may prove difficult to pass up.

To check out our previous interview with Houston-Carson, where he talks about changing positions and studying his NFL role models, click here.

About Jesse Cohen

Jesse Cohen graduated from the University of California, San Diego, where he received his B.S. in Physics. This background helps Jesse to find insight through a statistically comprehensive and analytical view of the topics he covers. When he's not covering sports, he plays professional ultimate for the San Diego Growlers.

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