In his most recent mock draft for ESPN Insider, Todd McShay has the Seattle Seahawks taking Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings with the 26th pick in the first round.
Billings (6-2, 310) was named co-Big 12 defensive player of the year for his performance in 2015, totaling 5.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. Known as a complete freak in the weight room even before he played a single college game, Billings is a young prospect who doesn’t turn 20 until next month.
From a positional perspective, this pick would make a lot of sense. Both of the Seahawks’ starting defensive tackles — Brandon Mebane and Ahtyba Rubin — are unrestricted free agents this offseason. Mebane is 31, and Rubin turns 30 in July. The veterans did outstanding work against the run all season long, earning constant praise from teammates and coaches. Pete Carroll at one point said Rubin was the best three-technique he’s had in Seattle.
The Seahawks may try to bring one or both back. They realize their window is wide open right now, and they want to keep the core of the defense together.
But regardless of what happens with Mebane and Rubin, the Seahawks need to keep adding young talent along the defensive line. They took Frank Clark in the second round last year, and it would be no surprise to see them go defensive line at some point in the first three rounds this time around.
The key with their evaluation of Billings may come down to what they think of him as a pass-rusher. As we’re seeing with the Super Bowl teams, interior pass rush is critical, especially for teams like the Seahawks that like to only rush four defenders. If the Seahawks view Billings as primarily a run-stuffer, does it make sense to spend a first-round pick on him?
But if they view Billings as someone who can stay on the field in passing situations, he could make a lot of sense.