As we delve into the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason, our attention has now shifted to the 2016 NFL Draft as it relates to the prospects. From now until the draft takes place, we hope to profile as many draft prospects as we possibly can for you. Most of these player profiles will be centered around prospects the Steelers are likely to have interest in.
A breakdown of one of the draft’s top defensive lineman this year. Baylor’s Andrew Billings.
#75 Andrew Billings/DT — Baylor, 6’2”, 300
-Exceptionally strong at point of attack
-Able to anchor well against double-teams
-Wide, low base with great core strength
-Very explosive for size
-Packs powerful punch at point of attack, stunning OL
-Uses length and leverage to his advantage
-Underrated athletically for interior DL
-Able to change directions quickly when in pursuit; impressive lateral quickness
-Sorts through traffic well when working down the line of scrimmage
-Requires multiple blockers along interior; nearly impossible to block one-on-one
-When locked in he has a high motor
-Level of play elevates, as the competition gets tougher
-Occasionally stops his feet when locked in a battle
-Balance can be an issue; falls to the ground when he doesn’t bring his feet
-Struggles to find the football
-Seems more interested in blowing up OL in front of him, instead of finding the ball
-Relies on bull rush far too often when pushing the pocket
-Tends to rush passer with head down; misses tons of sack opportunities by doing this
-Consistency/effort isn’t always there snap-to-snap
-Needs to work on said consistency, especially with technique
-Doesn’t get off blocks in a timely fashion at times
-Effectiveness is thwarted against up-tempo teams
-Consensus first team All Big-12 as a sophomore
-Recorded at least one tackle in all 24 games played
–Selected 2015 Preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of Year by league media, named preseason first-team All-Big 12 by league media, Sporting News, ESPN, Athlon, Lindy’s and Phil Steele
-Named “Strongest Player in College Football” by NFL.com
-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
-Clocked at 4.94 in 40-yard dash at Baylor
-Recorded 11.5 tackles for loss at 2.0 sacks as sophomore
-Will turn just 20 years old on March 6.
When watching tape of Billings it is easy to see how and why he was able to snap those Texas prep weightlifting marks.
Billings is a thick, powerful freak along the interior of the defensive line that plays through a wide base, allowing him to anchor against the run while also being able to generate a powerful punch at the point of attack, stunning the offensive lineman.
Not only is Billings one of the strongest defensive linemen I’ve ever seen, but he is very underrated athletically and changes directions well when in pursuit.
Most people will try to pigeonhole him as a 0 or 1-tech in the NFL, but I see no reasons as to why he can’t play the 3-tech in the NFL as a two-gapping defensive lineman.
The 19-year old defensive lineman is so quick off the ball at times that it’s almost unfair for the guys trying to block him. He’s able to combine impressive explosion with outstanding strength. That forces opposing teams to have to double-team him, which opens up space for the rest of the front seven.
Against the Kansas Jayhawks this past season, Billings put his combination of speed, power and use of leverage on full display.
Take a look at this clip on second and short against the Jayhawks.
With it being a short-yardage situation, Billings come out of his stance low to blow up the down-blocking center, forcing the pulling guard to go deeper into the backfield before finding his way into the hole.
By exploding low out of his stance to blow up the down-block, Billings creates a window of opportunity for the linebacker behind him to get into the hole to make the play, stopping the running back short of the first down.
Want another display of quickness by the 300-plus pound man? Take a look at this clip against Rice this past season.
Granted, the Owls leave Billings unblocked (HUGE mistake), but look at the ability to read his keys before bursting forward with terrifying straight-line speed.
Goodness gracious that is scary. For a man of his size and strength to be able to burst forward with that speed is so impressive.
I’m really interested to see how Billings does during his Pro Day in the short shuttle and three-cone drills, but based off of his showing on tape he has all the makings of an explosive athlete along the interior DL.
When he doesn’t get a great jump off the ball, Billings is able to use his power to still blow up the play.
Look at this play against Kansas State in 2014 when Billings was just 18 years old.
The amount of power he is able to generate here from his wide base and strong arms is incredible. He handles Wildcats guard Boston Stiverson with ease before wrapping up Jake Waters for the loss.
By using leverage and a strong base Billings should be able to translate this to the NFL. Sure, his technique isn’t great, but if his position coach at the next level can harness that power while cleaning up his technique…look out.
Here’s another example of Billings’ explosion and power, this from the SMU game this past season.
He’s so quick off the ball and just blows up the Mustangs’ guard, forcing the QB to pull the ball down and scramble due to the pocket collapsing.
That’s how much power Billings is able to generate in just two steps. Good luck to future NFL centers and guards that have to deal with that.
While Billings is a “sexy” prospect because of his power, speed and impressive athletic traits of a man his size, I am concerned with the lack of football I.Q. and his ability to find the football on a consistent basis.
This is just one play out of a large handful that I have issues with regarding Billings’ ability to find the football, but it stands out for more reasons than that.
Billings is more worried about blowing up the lineman across from him than finding the football.
Sure, it looks great on film as Billings is toppling his opponent, but the Rice running back is able to burst right past him.
Throughout the seven games that I watched of Billings, he did this a lot. It’s great that he’s able to absolutely blow up an offensive lineman, but if it takes him out of the play, then what is the point?
This will need to be corrected at the next level.
That being said, I am enamored with the power, speed and athletic traits of Billings, who will turn just 20 years old on March 6.
As a young talent, Billings can be molded into an absolute monster in the NFL with the right coaching.
I’m comfortable saying he’s a lock for a top 20 selection, should he pass all of the tests at the Combine and Baylor’s Pro Day.
Games watched: at Oklahoma (’14), vs. Kansas State (’14), vs. WVU (’15), vs. Rice (’15), vs. Oklahoma (’15), vs. SMU (’15), vs. Kansas (’15)
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