I know what everyone is thinking, "What?! We don't need another defensive lineman, we finished top 5 in run defense, get us a CB". While all that is technically true, if you were picking at 25th in the draft, the truth of the matter is by the time it gets to the 25th pick, all the best CB's could possibly gone. So with that in mind we should keep open to the possibility of taking the BPA (Best Player Available). Andrew Billings could very well be that guy and after reading this you may very well become an advocate of picking him.
Keep in mind I am no expert by any means so if I make any mistakes please be sure to correct me.
Alright ladies and gents, lets get to it!
Name: Andrew Billings
Age: 19 years old
Jersey Number: 75
Position: Defensive/Nose Tackle
Weight: 310 LB's
2015 Stats: 32 Solo Tackles, 40 Total Tackles, 15 Tackles For Loss, 5.5 sacks, 1 Forced Fumble
Positive: Pad level/Leverage
Andrew Billings, for being such a young player, exhibits one of my favorite traits with a defensive lineman, playing low with excellent pad level. That is a rare trait for such a young player and what probably helps him with that though is his height (6-2). I actually consider his height to be a strength rather than a weakness because of the fact he is able to stay at a good pad level more consistently which allows him to have more leverage and not let lineman/blockers get under him.
Notice how he never lets the lineman get under him and he is able to use that leverage along with his strength (we'll get to that later) to get into the backfield and stuff the running back for a loss. This play also shows that you are definitely going to need to double or possibly even triple team him as he just proves to be too much to handle for one blocker.
Positive: Pure Strength
What do I mean by pure strength well....
I know that strength sometimes doesn't apply to football but if you're that strong it is most certainly not a negative. It would not surprise me if you hear about him a lot at the combine. Not saying he could do what Dontari Poe did but don't be surprised if the combine causes his stock to rise big time.
His strength really is on display pretty much every single game with how many times he bull rushes a lineman about three yards into the backfield. Rarely will you ever see him get pushed back.
Rarely do you see many great defensive lineman not have a good motor or rarely do you see that they lack effort. In terms of Billings, he has it. He will rarely take plays off when he's on the field.
This play alone just shows that the does not give up on many plays at all. This was something Stephon Tuitt showed in college and it still shows in the NFL.
On this play Baker Mayfield (exceptionally good scrambler) is ready to run out of the pocket and even though Billings doesn't make the tackle (in fact he got embarrassed on that play), he made a nice effort to chase him down and his teammate was able to make the tackle.
For a guy as massive as Andrew Billings is, he is really quick off the line and shows much better speed than a guy that's over 300 LB's. It really jumps out to you just how fast he really is on tape every time you watch him.
It's hard to tell but watch him get off the line, the center get's completely overpowered and he ends up ripping past the center to sack the QB.
Rarely will you ever see a guy that big accelerate into the backfield like that. This play alone just shows how quick this guy is.
Negative: Developing/Limited pass rush
Some experts see Andrew Billings as a guy with a limited pass rush arsenal and that he's more of a pocket mover than anything. I don't necessarily think that's a wrong assumption but rather I feel like that's what his floor is as a pass rusher, that's why I say he's a developing pass rusher. He really gets more pressure than his sack numbers indicate and his sack numbers have been going up each year. His go to move is the bull rush without a doubt but he does show a nice Bull Jerk from time to time (i'm still learning about pass rush moves and trying to identify them, please bare with me), along with a stab and grab (I didn't mention the rip because I only saw it used once) but his main move is the bull rush and he will have to develop more if he wants to shed the label of pocket mover.
Side note: I didn't include this as a negative because I didn't see it enough to really consider it a big concern. In a scouting report I read, they thought Andrew Billings got stuck on blocks too much, I didn't necessarily see that enough but I did notice him get sealed off which led to some decent runs. With that said though, I didn't see it enough to consider it a huge problem but I wanted to make sure I left a note of it.
I see Andrew Billings as a rare run stopper with the potential to develop as a pass rusher. His quickness off the line gives him a great first step, along with his ability to close in on the ball carrier and make the tackle. His effort and motor shows that he doesn't give up and that he will always will be looking to make a play. His strength and pad level allows him to take on double and even triple teams without getting pushed back.
In terms of an NFL comparison I could see his floor being a guy like Brandon Mebane, who is excellent run stopper but doesn't offer much in terms of pass rush. His ceiling in my personal opinion though I believe could be a guy like Marcell Dareus due to his quickness off the line, along with his freakish strength and run stopping prowess, but he would have to develop more as a pass rusher because Dareus is very good pass rusher from the interior with plenty of moves at his disposal.
A lot could change from now to the draft and prospects can rise and fall, in the case of Andrew Billings, I could see him rising quite a bit in the coming months, he is a rare talent, and is almost impossible to move.
Hope you enjoyed my breakdown of Andrew Billings, I will be doing more breakdowns over the coming months, give me your feedback on what I can improve next time around.