For a school typically known for their high octane offenses in the Big 12, they’ve produced some solid defensive players in past seasons, this year in particular. The co-Big 12 defensive player of the year, Andrew Billings, is the best defensive player the school has produced in quite sometime. He is a force on the interior of the defensive line, and has even drawn comparisons to LA’s Aaron Donald.
With all the buzz regarding Andrew Billings and his rising stock, I came away quite disappointed with what I saw on film. Based on his size, Billings often draws comparisons to Aaron Donald and Jurrell Casey.
First off, in the film that I saw Billings rarely made a play – although I do recognize his production on the season which the majority came against far inferior opponents; he was absolutely shutdown against teams such as North Carolina and Oklahoma. Billings has very short arms which limits his ability to make plays, although he does a good job of getting himself in position but fails to finish. His lack of length will hurt him at the next level.
As a pass rusher, Billings shows dominant flashes as a bull rusher, but displays poor technique along with that. On one play he will absolutely dominate the o-linemen, but on the next few will have trouble getting any sort of separation. Typically he gets good arm extension, but it will work against him at times due to his inability to finish pass rush moves. Billings has great power, but lacks ideal strength to go along with that.
I love his motor and pursuit, he never gives up on plays. His compact size allows him to move around well. He’s very quick moving around the field and especially has one of the best first steps you’ll see of any linemen in this year’s class. Another aspect Billings excels in is reading plays. He has a high football IQ. Baylor even has him drop back into coverage on occasion.
Billings has poor footwork and balance – you’ll see him on the ground a lot. He struggles when dealing with double teams. He’s listed at 6’2”, but he looks more like 6 feet even on the field.
Due to his upside as an interior pass rusher to go along with his physical attributes, Billings will find himself in the first round come April. I do see a lot of red flags concerning him. However, he’s still very young and raw at 21 with time to develop; give him a good defensive line coach, and he can emerge as a great 4-3 defensive tackle within the next few years.
Jonathan has been investing his time in sports writing for the past decade. Breaking Football's lead writer covers anything from the NFL Draft to providing fantasy football insight. Born and raised in the Jersey Shore. Follow him on Twitter @JonValencia_WiB to talk anything football.