Andrew Billings, DL
School: Baylor | Conference: Big 12
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-1 / 311 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Mid-First Round to Second Round
NFL Comparison: Grady Jarrett
Andrew BIllings is a prospect with a lot of upside and natural talent, but make no mistake about it, he needs good coaching and mentorship. He doesn't enter the draft with a lot of red flags, but he doesn't have a whole lot of really good film to his name. The good film he does have comes later in his collegiate career; the good news with that is it shows improvement, but the bad news is he's got a lot more underwhelming film than overwhelming film on his resume.
In just about every game he plays, there are flashes of the player he could become. He has crazy power and a natural ability to move offensive linemen out of his way, but he has yet to master the techniques to do so. With some strong coaching and a positive mentor, Billings would continue to grow and improve at an astronomical rate; on the other hand, if he is thrust into a starting role without much guidance, he has all the potential to waste his potential, as it were.
- Y'know that expression "as strong as an ox"? Well, that.
- The clay is there, it just needs to be molded. He improved considerably in each of his three collegiate seasons, both on paper (4.0 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks as a freshman, 12.0 and 2.5 as a sophomore, 14.0 and 5.5 as a junior) and on film. Even in his earlier footage from 2015, you see some mistakes that he cut out by the later part of the season.
- His Combine performance wasn't egregiously bad, but it wasn't very good. He improved on all of his speed and quickness numbers at his Pro Day, trimming his 40 time to 4.96 seconds, a very impressive time for a man carrying 311 pounds.
- He just turned 21 on March 6, meaning he could ride the bench for a full year in the pros (more on this below) and still be rather young for the 2017 season.
- He's a bit short for a defensive lineman, especially one carrying well over 300 pounds on his frame.
- Billings measured 311 pounds at the Combine, but he looks a fair bit bigger than that in game film. Perhaps it's due to his proportions — Kedric Golston, for instance, is listed at 318 pounds, but he spreads that weight over three more inches than Billings does — or maybe he simply slimmed down after the season, but he looks like he might be better suited to lose a few pounds and move to the edge.
- He's still pretty raw. You get the feeling he was just starting to really get the hang of the college game, so it could be a few years before he's caught up to the pro game.
- On a related note: It's encouraging that he continues to improve year after year, but we don't know where that upward trajectory ends. It's totally possible he's at or near the extent of his growth and plateaus from here.
How He Would Fit on the Redskins
Just about everybody thinks Billings makes sense in Washington. In a span of less than two weeks, the following NFL analysts all mocked Billings to the Redskins: Todd McShay, Charles Davis, Dan Kadar, Chris Burke, Jared Dubin, Will Brinson, Daniel Jeremiah, Adam Stites, and even Hogs Haven's own Ken Meringolo.
On one hand, he seems like a typical Scot McCloughan guy: He's strong as hell, clears 300 pounds and pairs a high ceiling with a high floor. But look a little closer, and there are some question marks. For instance, he measures just 6-foot-1, and at his pro day, he reportedly came in slightly shorter than that. That's awfully short for a defensive lineman, especially a nose tackle — consider that only one defensive lineman on the Redskins roster (Stephen Paea, 6'1") clocks in below 6-foot-2, and this offseason's two defensive line signings, Kendall Reyes (6'4") and Ziggy Hood (6'3"), both top that.
He's considered to be rather versatile, but he'll need to lose some weight if he really wants to play anywhere except in the middle. If he were to drop 10 pounds and get to be a little quicker on his feet, he'd make a very interesting prospect along the edge.
Regardless, his youth is incredibly promising. If the Redskins add another veteran to the defensive line mix, there's a strong possibility Billings plays less than many expect this season, just coming in as a part of certain rotations, or as an injury fill-in, while he learns from the veterans. If he were to only play 300 snaps all season, it wouldn't be a bad thing, especially if his playing time increased over the course of the season.