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Notes: James Houston among most impressive under-the-radar edge rushers

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One of the things Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes is known for is finding talent in late rounds of the NFL Draft.

By far one of the most impressive examples of that is edge rusher James Houston. Finding someone who can successfully put pressure on opposing quarterbacks is hard enough, but finding a player who shined as a rookie with a cost-effective contract to help build the rest of your team is no small feat.

Pro Football Focus’ John Owning listed Houston as one of the top three most impressive under the radar edge rushers under the age of 25. Selected in the sixth round of the 2022 draft, Houston spent the first 11 weeks on the practice squad. But when given the opportunity to prove himself on the active roster on Thanksgiving Day against the Buffalo Bills in Week 12, he surprised many by recording two sacks.

The Lions kept him on the active roster and he registered three more sacks. He led all rookies in pass-rush grade at 88.2, although only taking a total of 140 snaps. But still, that shows he managed to make a big impact in a much shorter amount of time than many other players.

“Given his short stature (6 feet and 244 pounds), Houston’s ability to bend low to the ground to corner around offensive tackles is excellent for such a young player, as he’s able to dip below opposing tackles’ waistline, reducing his lockable surface area and forcing 300-pounders lower their pad level — a winning combination,” Owning writes.

You can read the rest of his thoughts on Houston here and what Owning thinks Houston will need to do in order to find success in Year 2.

And onto the rest of your notes.

If you haven’t caught any of the clips on social media, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer sat down with Brad Holmes, Dan Campbell, and Jared Goff on how they shifted to a winning mentality.

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