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Kansas City Chiefs Bold Prediction: Justin Houston Gets More Sacks In 2011 Than Von Miller

The new outside linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, Justin Houston, will finish the 2011 season with more sacks than the Denver Broncos No. 2 overall pick Von Miller.

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The comparisons that have been made of Von Miller to former Chiefs great Derrick Thomas have added intrigue to the Chiefs/Broncos rivalry for the next several years. When a label or comparison is put on a player like that before they've ever played a snap in the NFL, it puts the player in an awkward situation.

Much like Eric Berry being compared to Ed Reed last year, it seems as if fans always want to pigeon-hole a player into a specific category to fill their obsessive need to believe they just drafted the next "great one". But just as Berry did in 2010, you can take those comparisons and prove everyone right. Being a top five pick in the NFL draft, as they both were at No. 2 (Miller in 2011) and No. 5 (Berry in 2010), puts pressure on that player to be great sooner rather than later. It's considered justified with the money they are being paid. Right or wrong, it's just how it works.

Von Miller is walking into a situation in Denver that up until about two days prior to the draft many didn't think he'd be in. There wasn't a lot of speculation about Von Miller going to the Broncos until right before the draft. Many experts believed that Marcel Dareus would be the Broncos choice at No. 2. They have a need on the defensive line and Dareus offered them scheme versatility as well as just being a flat-out dominant player.

The Broncos were reportedly switching back to the 4/3 defense and that puzzled people because of their choice of Miller. It's not that he couldn't find ways to be effective in a 4/3, but it seems as if he was a perfect fit for a 3/4 rush linebacker position. And Dareus was pegged as a player that could play in either system, and be very good in both.

Justin Houston seems to be walking into Kansas City at the perfect time. Mike Vrabel just recently announced his retirement as he heads back to his Alma Mater, Ohio State, to coach the linebackers for the Buckeyes this fall. So Houston will compete with Andy Studebaker for the starting outside linebacker position, assuming the Chiefs don't add anyone else when free agency begins.

The reason that Justin Houston will have more sacks than Von Miller during the 2011 season is put quite simply. The Broncos won't have as many opportunities to pin their ears back and get after the quarteback as the Chiefs will. They won't find themselves ahead in as many games as they continue to rebuild their team for the future.

The Chiefs also have more players on defense that will take focus away from Houston. Although Elvis Dumervil showed what he is capable of in 2009 with 17 sacks, that was as a OLB in a 3/4, the same scheme that Houston will be playing in for the Chiefs. Dumervil is coming off of an injury and is moving back to a position where he only saw five sacks in 2008, but did have better numbers in 2006 and 2007. 

Tamba Hali and Wallace Gilberry were the two top sack leaders for the Chiefs in 2011. With Houston, Allen Bailey, Gilberry and Hali possibly being the front four defensive lineman in passing situations, Houston is already the third guy to worry about in that situation. Add in the fact that Eric Berry was the best blitzing defensive back in the NFL last season and you have three players in passing situations that teams will account for before looking for Houston. That means good things for Houston and the Chiefs.