Detroit Lions 2016 NFL Draft Watch List

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Jan 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Michigan State Spartans quarterback Connor Cook (18) tries to elude Baylor Bears defensive tackle Andrew Billings (75) during the first half in the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Billings is a defensive tackle from Baylor who could have an immediate impact in Detroit. He has prototypical size for the position (6020 300 pounds) and spent most of his time playing nose tackle for the Bears defense. He has freakish size, strength, and athleticism for the position. He is an accomplished weightlifter and definitely fits the Lion’s hardworking style. From the teams official website:

"Accomplished weightlifter, broke 22-year-old Texas prep state meet record with 2,010 pound effort (805 squat, 500 bench, 705 dead lift) in 2012 — previous record was held by Mark Henry… Team-best 690-pound squat, team-best 400-pound clean lift… Vertical jump measured at 32-inches even, broad jump at nine feet, two inches… Timed at 4.94 in 40-yard dash."

Although these numbers are all insane, he is not just a workout warrior. He displays very solid technique and pad level when attacking offensive lineman. He also has a high level of awareness in the run game, he consistently finds the hole and plugs it. He had 26 total tackles last year (11.5 for a loss) and two sacks, which is pretty impressive considering how often he was double teamed. He has the ability to consistently beat double teams and has the anchor to force two men into the backfield. (All Vines are from @TDavenport_NFL I highly recommend checking out the rest of them he should be posting some more tonight)

One on One Matchup

Anthony Billings is a dominate run defender and the play above shows exactly what happens when you try to block him one on one. West Virginia run’s the play away from him and think they can get away with single teaming Billings. He locates the ball and is way to strong for the guard to handle. He maintains inside leverage on the guard the whole play and disengages at the right moment to make a tackle for a loss.

Double Team

He has the ability to consistently beat double teams and has the anchor to force two men into the backfield. This play above shows off Billings insane strength, he initially is double teamed by the center and guard. He reads the play and rips off the center right into the hole to make a tackle for a loss. His strength at the point of attack and ability to rip off of blocks is consistently shown in his game tape. Notice how well he controls the blocker, his pad level and leverage at the point of attack is perfect. You can’t leave him matched up one on one with a blocker and even if you double team him he has the strength to beat both blockers.

Occupying Blockers

The play above shows Billings biggest asset as a defender. Because of his ability to dominate one on one match ups, Billings has to be doubled almost every play. The guard is forced to block Billings when he steps right by the center and shoots up the gap, the rushing linebacker is then given a free pass at the quarterback because Billings is occupying two blockers. This play should look familiar to Lions fans, they have had a player in Ndamukong Suh with a similar impact on the defensive line. 

Pass Rush Ability

Billings also has shown the ability to be a dominant pass rushing threat. In the vine above, his first contact blows the guard off-balance showing his incredible strength at the point of attack. Once he has pushed the guard back into the pocket he rips off the block and jumps at the quarterback for the sack/fumble. He is a consistent force in the pass rush and has an impressive bull rush that few guards can contain.

Overall, Anthony Billings is a player with very few holes in his game. He is a dominant run defender and has shown a lot of promise as a pass rusher. He dominates at the point of attack with elite functional strength and very good pad leverage. His ability to consistently beat double teams would make him a force in a 3-4 or a 4-3 system. He would fit very well in the Lions defense as a space occupying 1-tech. A dream draft scenario would be bagging both Zettel and Billings, they are complimentary players who could play off of each others strengths and make life terrible for opposing quarterbacks.

Next: Taylor Decker