by Eric Barton
Should Curtis Martin miss a significant amount of time for the Jets in the upcoming season, it would seemingly make for a bleak situation for the team’s chances at making the playoffs. But it might not be as bad as it sounds. Dare I sayâ€¦a blessing in disguise?
In the 2005 NFL Draft, the New York Jets quietly drafted a running back by the name of Cedric Houston in the 6th rd (182nd overall). While Houston rushed for over 1,000 yards as a senior for the Tennessee Volunteers in 2004, he had to share the load with Gerald Riggs Jr. due to a thyroid condition that affected his stamina. Keep in mind, the Jets knew about this problem before they drafted him.
While the condition may have slowed him down and limited his carries in college, Cedric is now taking medication that will help to control the condition and increase his stamina and energy for the NFL. If treated properly, the thyroid condition will not hinder on the chances of Cedric becoming a full-time starter.
At 5â€™11 and 225lbs, Cedric Houston has ideal size for an NFL running back. While he may have run a pedestrian 4.58 at the UT pro day, he plays much faster than his timed speed. He runs with power and has a great burst after the handoff which makes him a quick striker through the hole, taking advantage of decent blocking. In the open field he has quick moves to make defenders miss and a very good stiff arm to avoid the tackle and pound out more yards. Heâ€™ll lower the boom on any would- be tackler coming his way and uses his quick feet to wiggle out of tackles. He has the speed and sustained burst to kick it off tackle for long runs, something that Jets lost with the departure of Lamont Jordan. On top of being a complete runner, Houston is also a good receiver out of the backfield and an effective blocker in pass protection. Simply stated, Houston has the complete package and skill set to be a very good running back in the National Football League. So should he see extended playing time due to injury to Curtis Martin, keep your heads up because Houston has the capability of taking over a game and leading his team to victory.
Chris Low of the Tennessean quoted Houston as saying
”I’ll be motivated a whole lot. If I get to touch the field this year, there’s going to be trouble. I’ll do whatever I can to get out there, playing special teams or anything.”
Sounds to me like Houston is ready to take off!