He's the lone remaining rookie left unsigned from the Chiefs current draft class. He's also the one rookie most in need of getting into training camp. Whether it's the chance to rehab his college reputation or the opportunity to develop further moves as an NFL level pass rusher, every day that Justin Houston is not in training camp is another day he falls behind.
That's frustrating for a coaching staff wanting to develop a significant pass rush from the other side. As Houston is not in pads or with Romeo Crennel's playbook, Andy Studebaker is taking a step up in every practice, realizing that this is the moment he's been waiting for. So it's not just about acclimating to the next level, but about cementing a roster spot early.
Houston's athleticism and burst off of the edge made him a beast at the college level, but most scouts seemed divided on Houston's chances at the next level -- the reason you would read a first round grade on one website and hear another analyst say that he was going to struggle in the NFL. The mixed reviews dropped him to Scott Pioli and the Chiefs at the top of the third round. Now that he's supposed to make that leap, this is prime time to learn under KC's defensive coaches and mold the potential into something great.
It's difficult to imagine what could possibly be holding up Houston's contract with the new CBA. Perhaps he's wanting guaranteed money given his first-round projection, but it should be clear what range he can expect. What he cannot expect is what it will fully take to succeed at the next level, so getting into camp soon is of the utmost importance.
At this point, the Chiefs have not negotiated a new deal with Hali, nor have they signed Houston, leaving practice squads without the two best pass rushers on the roster besides Wallace Gilberry in there somewhere. While it's nice to have Tyson Jackson looking so fit and ready, the front seven overall is a bit frustrating to have so many holes to fill (and wait on Kelly Gregg to be able to practice). Here's hoping Justin Houston is announced soon enough.