Perhaps no one will benefit more from the acquisition of the former 49ers defensive tackle than Houston.
Justin Houston had 11 sacks in his first year as a Colt in 2019. He was instantly the best free-agent signing that Chris Ballard has made in his tenure as GM. Houston was the only player the Colts had who could consistently generate pressure. But now they have two.
DeForest Buckner is that second man. Him coming to Indianapolis gives the defensive line some interior pressure to take the attention away from Houston. Houston should benefit greatly from Buckner being inside. Most teams will make sure that Buckner is the priority.
With a year in Matt Eberflus’ system, Houston should be even better. Now he knows what the team is wanting from him in the scheme, and can execute his role to a tee. Houston will clearly be the team’s primary source of pressure from the outside.
The Colts entire defensive line will benefit too
Houston isn’t the only player who will benefit from Buckner’s presence. Players like Kemoko Turay, Denico Autry, and Ben Banogu should also be helped. All of these players should see their production go up, but Houston’s production will go up the most.
11 sacks is a hard bar to pass, especially at the age of 31. Houston should be on tap for at least 12 sacks this season. If he does hit a bar that high, Ballard will have a good reason to re-sign him and bring him back to Indy for at least another year.
Even at Houston’s advanced age, he is a valuable member of this Colts team. He and Buckner should form one of the scariest interiors in the league. Hopefully, the sack numbers that they should produce translate into wins as well.