James Houston JSU
Jackson State

Detroit Lions pick Jackson State edge James Houston

Jackson State defensive end/edge James Houston is the first NFL Draft pick for Deion Sanders. The edge rusher was selected in the sixth round by the Detroit Lions. At pick 217, he is the third player from an HBCU picked in the draft after Fayetteville State defensive back Joshua Williams and South Carolina State defensive back Decobie Durant, both of whom were 4th round picks.

The Florida native began his collegiate career at the University of Florida before transferring to Jackson State for his final year of eligibility.

2017 (FLORIDA): Redshirt

2018 (FLORIDA):

Houston posted 28 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, two forced fumbles, and a blocked punt. He appeared in 13 games for the Gators.

2019 (FLORIDA):

Houston recorded 21 solo tackles, 17 assisted tackles, six tackles-for-loss, and 3.5 sacks in 13 games. His 3.5 sacks ranked fourth-best on the team.

2020 (FLORIDA):

Houston posted 20 solo tackles, 17 assisted tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, one sack, and one forced fumble in nine games.


Houston racked up 52 solo tackles, 24.5 tackles-for-loss , 16.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recovers, and two defensive touchdowns. He ranked first in the SWAC in forced fumbles and second in tackles-for-loss.


  • 2021 First-team All-SWAC
  • 2021 STATS FCS All-American
  • 2021 FCS Coaches All-American
Detroit Lions pick Jackson State edge James Houston
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