New Orleans Saints draft profiles: Clash of the Titans, Part 2

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Andrew Billings
Dec 5, 2015; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears defensive tackle Andrew Billings (75) rushes against the Texas Longhorns during the first quarter at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

And the winner is…Andrew Billings

You will often hear me talk about how important fit is in the NFL both here as well as on my podcast on Billings’ combination of power, speed, and balance gives him the ability to be the penetrator that the New Orleans Saints desperately need. However, he’s also very strong against the run. Heck, he’s very strong period. I dubbed Billings ‘The Big Upside’ because his potential is nearly limitless. What makes me pick him over both Rankins and Reed, however, is his total package as a player.

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It isn’t just that he has incredible talent and upside, but that he ALSO has a high floor. It’s true that Jarran Reed is likely the most pro-ready defensive tackle in this draft, but while Billings still needs to develop, he is more than adequate as is. The Saints are working on finalizing a contract extension for Drew Brees as you read this, and that means that they have at most a two-year window. They absolutely must improve this defense, and getting someone with the potential to be a true star up front is simply the fastest route to accomplishing that goal.

When you look at the total package of each of the four linemen, you will notice that each of them has a major flaw (all prospects do). However, in the case of Billings, his two biggest flaws are experience and technique. He will be able to rapidly improve both with the New Orleans Saints, and will be surrounded by quality pros who will assist him in that process. His near-limitless potential, combined with his fit at a major position of need, and finally his lack of a true negative makes him the best possible pick.

The best possible scenario of course is to trade down a few spots, get another mid-round pick, and THEN select Billings….but that is a discussion for another day.