In four years at Div. I-AA William & Mary, DeAndre Houston-Carson blocked nine kicks. He was such a special teams monster that, as a junior, his broke his right wrist blocking a punt.
It’s that kind of aggression — to go with a consensus All-American selection at William & Mary last year — that compelled the Bears to draft the safety in the sixth round Saturday despite not meeting with him after the NFL Scouting Combine.
He said the secret to special teams — he played on every one but kickoff return and field goal — was preparation.
“The main thing is just preparation and the film study,” Houston-Carson said. “And then, just my position coach putting us in position to make those plays.”
The 6-1, 201-pounder made 32 starts in his first three years at cornerback before moving to free safety as a senior. He posted four interceptions in 2015 and drew 14 teams to his pro day.
“That’s the most important part of football in my opinion, is being able to make tackles and bring people down,” the 23-year-old said. “It’s something I take a lot of pride in, just again, I was in a lot of good positions to make a lot of plays in that way.”
He said he was comfortable playing either cornerback or safety, and that the Bears hadn’t specified a preference. Still, he was announced as a safety when the Bears picked him No. 185.
“I would just say being able to play smart football and make plays however I can,” he said. “And then, obviously, special teams, it’s huge for me, personally. I take a lot of pride in that.”