Just one more day Lions fans. You’ll soon be in NFL Draft heaven.
There has been one constant thought since the season ended back in January. The Detroit Lions need help on both their offensive and defensive lines. As we get closer to the draft, it’s still a bit unclear as to which direction the Bob Quinn and company will go in when it’s their turn to get on the podium. But if I had to bet, I’d bet right away that the Lions address the defensive line at 16.
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that this is quite possibly the deepest defensive tackle class in recent years. The Lions would be wise to strike while iron is hot instead of waiting until the second round. There’s a good chance that top-tier guys like Jarran Reed and Sheldon Rankins will be off the board by 16. The Lions would be wise to grab Baylor tackle Andrew Billings.
For starters, Billings is only 20 year’s old. To be only 20 and ready to play the pro game is a big deal for any player. What the Lions would essentially get is a player they can build up and keep around for a longer period of time than your average 23-24 year old rookie. Another interesting aspect of Billings game is that while at Baylor he made the switch from offensive lineman to defensive lineman. Having knowledge of the trench game on both sides of the ball gives Billings an interesting leg up over the rest of defensive tackle class in my opinion. It’s clear that Billings knows how to use his hands and get at the right level to move guys around.
Speaking of moving guys around. Billings has brute strength for days. The tackle has a strong Power lifting background. He even beat former olympian and current WWE superstar Mark Henry’s Texas state combined weight record by lifting over 2,000 lbs. That was when Billings was in high school. That kind of power will come in hand when he goes up against stronger offensive linemen in the NFL.
For starters he’s only 20 years old. While that can be a blessing, it can also be a curse. Billings will have to work to grow up in the NFL and into an important role. Sometimes young players can’t handle that transition. Playing along side Haloti Ngata will definitely help him mature.
The strength I mentioned earlier is definitely a plus. But too often you find Billings just trying to get to the quarterback by using his burst and strength instead of any technique like swimming. That kind of thing will work well in certain situations, but when he’s going up against some of the better interior lineman in the league, they will know exactly how to counter Billings strength. Billings must work on technique and find himself an inside move, or he will be ineffective at times.
Switching over from offensive lineman to defensive lineman, Billings has some inexperience at the position. This goes back to the last point, Being the strongest guy on the field won’t always work. So the Lions would have to take a risk by knowing that Billings is still learning the position. But then again, the last time they took that risk, it turned out pretty well with Ansah.
bBe sure to check out Andrew Billings highlights below.As always, the music in the video is NSFW. Also be sure to leave your comments below or come chat with me about Billings on Twitter