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James Houston Listed as Lions' Breakout Candidate in 2023

James Houston is poised for a solid sophomore campaign in the NFL.

Detroit Lions defensive lineman James Houston was a member of Detroit's practice squad before bursting onto the scene in Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season. 

In a recent Pro Football Focus listing of breakout candidates for each NFC team, the 24-year-old was tabbed as Detroit's breakout player. 

"Rookie edge defender Aidan Hutchinson got most of the attention in 2022, but classmate James Houston IV had a very impressive season, too," PFF explained. "The sixth-round pick had to wait until Week 12 to get on to the field, but he finished the season strong, ultimately posting a pass-rush grade of 88.2 that would have ranked seventh among edge defenders had he played more snaps."

Detroit's front office and coaching staff have made a concerted effort to improve the talent level and depth along the defensive line. 

Detroit invested a third-round pick in Brodric Martin, who projects to be quite effective at stopping the run early in his career.

With John Cominsky and Isaiah Buggs returning, Houston and Aidan Hutchinson will again be tasked with pressuring the quarterback from the edges. 

"Over the last seven weeks of the season, he produced pressure on 18.5% of his pass-rushing snaps, eighth among 121 qualifying edge defenders," PFF further said. 

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