This time of year is plenty full of people with motives behind their words, whether it be the G.M. of an NFL franchise or the agent for a prospect or two, but we’ve never shied away from passing along potential smoke-screens for our readers enjoyment. Oh, and sometimes they turn out to be true.
The most recent rumor regarding the Vikings comes from Luke Rodgers of 247 Sports whose 12,400 Twitter followers were privy to an interesting little Vikings-related nugget. For the sake of transparency, I didn’t know who the guy was prior to today. To be fair, however, that probably says more about me than it does him.
Rodgers claims that the Vikings gave a nose tackle assurances during the NFL Scouting Combine that they will select him with the 23rd pick this year if he is still available. He even spilled the specific beans by giving us the prospect’s name.
That player is Baylor nose tackle Andrew Billings.
— Luke Rodgers (@thelukerodgers) February 27, 2016
Austin Belisle and myself both neglected to place Billings in our first drafts of our first round mocks, but it is sounding like the buzz in Indianapolis this week is that we were both in error for doing so.
Billings stands at 6′ 1″ and weighs in at 311 pounds. The big man was largely labeled as one of the Combine “winners” this week as he put up admirable numbers considering his size.
These results included a 5.05 second forty yard dash, 31 bench press reps, 27.5 inch vertical jump, 113″ broad jump, 8.05 second three-cone drill, and 4.82 second 20 yard shuttle.
Billings is not yet even 21 years old and is heralded as one of the prospects with the highest of upsides that this class has to offer. His dominating presence off the snap and overpowering strength have been evident through his collegiate career and a team that drafts him could be looking at a player with a very bright future.
Still, Vikings fans bent on seeing their pre-Free Agency needs checklist satisfied will not be too excited about this pick with Linval Joseph already having a stronghold on the Vikings nose tackle position. Depth, however, wasn’t there last season when both Joseph and Shamar Stephen were injured.
There are plenty of variables left to play out before May, but this class is stacked at defensive line and it seems very likely that the Vikings will be faced with selecting another one in the first round this year if they truly stick to the “Best Player Available” draft strategy. It isn’t impossible to think that Billings could be that player.
As far as those that might be dubious about this Twitter report and the source of the information. Rodgers returned to Twitter to fire back at a critic and clarify where the information came from.
— Luke Rodgers (@thelukerodgers) February 29, 2016