Friday, March 25, 2016

Path to the Draft | Andrew Billings


I wrote an ode to former Baylor NT Andrew Billings after he announced his decision to forego his senior season in favor of the 2016 NFL Draft. Born in 1995, Billings may be the youngest player to get drafted in this season and the pros are predicting that he'll go early. Billings is a prospect out of Waco HS where he was a national top 200 local recruit who set multiple records in power lifting- his first sport. Billings showed his strength after he broke a Texas state meet record with a 2,010 pound effort (805 squat, 500 bench, 705 dead lift). Although he wasn't a highly touted recruit, Billings made an instant impact as a true freshman starter.

In his freshman year, Billings totaled 29 tackles, 3.5 for loss of eight yards, and three QB hurries. Billings showed immense improvement during his sophomore season where he totaled 37 tackles, 11.5 for loss of 38 yards, two sacks, nine QB hurries, and one forced fumble. He started in all 13 games and became a figure of consistency for the Baylor defense during the 2014 season. However, it wasn't until his third and final season with the Bears that Billings showed his true talent. He earned All-American honors and was named Co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year. Billings recorded 40 tackles, 15 for loss of 66 yards, 5.5 sacks, three QB hurries, and one forced fumble. A defensive forced to be reckoned with, other coaches were starting to acknowledge the impressive speed and strength of the NT. After the Bears beat the Mountaineers in October, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said, "The [Andrew] Billings kid is the best nose guard I've ever gone against. I mean, that guy is as disruptive as I've ever seen." 

Andrew showed off at both the NFL and Baylor combines, which hands down increased his draft stock. At the NFL Scouting Combine, the 6'1" 311 pound tackle recorded a 5.05 40 yard dash, 31 bench press reps, 27.5 inch vertical, 113 inch broad jump, 8.05 second three cone drill, and 4.82 second 20 yard shuttle. At Baylor's pro day, Billings shined amongst his fellow defensive players. Although he did not participate in a few drills, his 40 yard dash and three cone drill times were admirable. He ran the 40 in an unofficial 4.92 seconds and recorded a 7.71 second three cone drill.

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