From heaven, we get Andrew Billings
A match made in heaven.
If Baylor nose tackle Andrew Billings falls to the Green Bay Packers at No. 27 they should have no hesitation in picking him up. Billings is the dominant force the defensive line is crying out for.
All of a sudden, the Packers are worryingly thin along the defensive line. Promising young lineman Mike Pennel was slapped with a four-game suspension last month, and coupled with B.J. Raji‘s ‘hiatus’ the defense needs more bodies up front.
Letroy Guion was re-signed to a three-year, $11.05 million deal in February but the Packers will need to take advantage of one of the deepest rookie classes at the position in years. That’s where Billings comes in.
The Baylor product has everything you look for in a nose tackle. Billings wins with his incredible power and strength, and he’s able to manhandle offensive linemen. Due to his dominance, he often required double teams which would spell bad news for offenses at the next level. With Mike Daniels commanding so much attention at defensive end, it would be hard to commit two players on Billings.
Over the past couple of seasons Green Bay has come a long way defensively. The Packers finished 2015 at No. 15 in total defense, which is a significant improvement on the No. 25 ranking it owned just two years prior. A young, ascending secondary and an excellent pass rush led the Packers to the No. 6 passing defense, but an inability to consistently stop the run held the unit back.
Billings could help transform that.
There’s plenty of talk about the Packers’ need at inside linebacker, but without a player who can win in the trenches you can forget about stopping the run. If the nose tackle loses gets pushed around all afternoon, it’s over. Nobody consistently gets the better of Billings.
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It’s not just in run support that the rookie could help out. Billings offers plenty as an interior pass rusher, often finding a home in opposing backfields. No matter the assignment, he can make plays and help the Packers win in the trenches.
With Billings plugged in a nose tackle, the Green Bay defense would have the look of a top-ten unit.
The secondary is loaded and poised to make a case as one of the best in the NFL. A cornerback trio of Sam Shields, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins glows potential, meanwhile the safety tandem of Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is as good as any. Burnett was ranked as the No. 4 safety in the entire league by Pro Football Focus last season, while Clinton-Dix was just behind at No. 8.
With Clay Matthews moving back outside to pair with Julius Peppers, the Packers have players rushing off the edge who can tee off on the quarterback. Nick Perry is on a one-year ‘prove it’ deal and there’s a lot to like about young Jayrone Elliott. There’s a strong chance there will be a rookie addition to the group of outside linebackers, too.
By selecting Billings, Green Bay would potentially have two future All-Pro players in their front three. Billings and Daniels could dominate working alongside one another, and this would create a chain reaction throughout the defense.
This year’s rookie class features a deep pool of defensive linemen and the Packers will have plenty of opportunities to address the position.
If Billings falls to No. 27, Ted Thompson could complete a hat-rick of home run selections in the first round.
And now …
Next: Offensive draft picks who were busts