2016 NFL Draft: Why Andrew Billings Fits Green Bay Packers Perfectly

It was surprising to hear the announcement made by former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle, B.J. Raji that he was retiring. Yet, at least the Packers have more than enough time now to replace him, especially with the 2016 NFL Draft on the horizon.

And while we will certainly delve a lot deeper into the draft as it gets closer, one player that would make a ton of sense for the Packers, especially in the wake of Raji’s retirement, is Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings.

With the Packers set to pick at No. 27, near the end of the first round, Billings could very well be a target, if he does stay on the board that long. Right now, that is the range many mock drafts have placed him, but as we all know, mock drafts are often wrong — and a lot can happen before draft day.

However, there are a number of reasons for the Packers to consider Billings and one is that the team really doesn’t have a true nose tackle on its roster. Yes, LeTroy Guion could play the position if needed and was adequate there in place of Raji two seasons ago.

Mike Pennel will also get some snaps there, once his four-game suspensions has been served. Yet, neither Pennel or Guion, while both nice players, strike me as the long-term solution at nose tackle for the Packers, but frankly, Billings could be just that.

Billings doesn’t possess ideal size for a 3-4 nose at just 6-1, 311 pounds. But, he’s extremely athletic for his size and was very productive in college, rackingĀ up 30 tackles for loss and five sacks.

When you watch Billings play, you can see his explosiveness and it’s rare to see him being blown off the ball. In some ways, he reminds you of Raji’s ability to make plays in the backfield. Billings is a disruptive interior player and putting him next to Mike Daniels would create a dangerous combination.

At 21 years of age, Billings also offers a ton of upside and after playing for three years and playing productively, it’s reasonable to assume he can be ready to contribute in short order.

Despite a dip in production, Raji was effective for the Packers last season, and whether he stays retired or not, the Packers need a long-term solution at nose tackle and Billings could be that guy.

Sure, the Packers have other needs, but with the way the board is stacking up against them at inside linebacker and tight end, it’s likely the best way to marry value and need at the end of the first round, will be at defensive tackle. And if the pick ends up being a defensive tackle, Billings would be a perfect fit.

If you want a look at Billings, here is his game against Oklahoma this past season. It highlights each and every one of his snaps.



One comment

  • Billings is a good player, but personally I think both Guion and Pennel are more NT than they are DE. As such, I feel the Packers need a true 5 tech DE. That guy can be had in the 2nd rd and his name is Chris Jones, Miss St. Guion, Pennel and even Billings are mostly 2 down run stuffers. Packers have desperately needed a true 5 tech for as long as Capers has been DC. Johnny Jolly was pretty good at it for a year before he got suspended. Jones will offer the Packers a true 5 tech that stays on the field all 3 downs. Miss St played him out of position at NT which limited his production. Look at Pitts, NE and other 34 D’s, they all have tall long 5 tech DE! That is a guy who plays 34 DE in base but moves to DT in nickel. Jones would be an ideal fit. He has Richard Seymour type ability if used correctly. Billings and Daniels rushing inside offers nothing for a QB to see or throw over. Throw in a 6’6 Jones w/ his long arms and it changes the delivery of the QB, something Jolly was very good at. For too long the Packers have needed a 5 tech DE and Chris Jones might be the answer!

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