Chargers Should Target S Killebrew, DT Billings on Day 3
By Matt Pagels
The San Diego Chargers are doing a heck of a job so far.
The Chargers addressed huge needs with arguably the top prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft. They enter Day 3 with five total picks–one in the fourth, one in the fifth, two in the sixth and one in the seventh.
The draft is so deep that there are still impact players left on the board. Here are two players the Chargers should take a look at.
Miles Killebrew, S, Southern Utah:
The Chargers still need help at the safety position, and there happens to be a linebacker-safety hybrid still available. Killebrew was a hard-hitting tackling machine, which bodes well for a Charger defense that needs help in that department.
At the combine, the former Thunderbird made it known to the public that taking down runners and receivers was his thing, saying, “I pride myself on being able to tackle.” The 6-foot-2, 217-pounder backed up that statement with serious production at Southern Utah. He racked up 243 total tackles over the last two years (100-plus per season). Great closing speed factored into that. Killebrew doesn’t have elite ball skills, but he did make three interceptions and batted down seven passes in his last two seasons.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein believes he could make a big impact.
“Violent player who looks to punish and intimidate with the force of his strikes, but who won’t compromise his form as a tackler just for the highlight reel hit. Killebrew is average in coverage, but has the size and physicality that makes him stand out in the box. With the success of Arizona’s Deone Bucannon as a hybrid linebacker, it is reasonable to assume that a team will look to Killebrew to fill that role for its defense.”
Bleacher Report also wrote a great feature on Killebrew a few weeks ago.
From what I’ve read, one of the main knocks on Killebrew was that he played against lower-level competition. Pro Football Focus did point out that he graded positively against FBS competition over the last two years. While he posted a 4.5 40-yard dash along with flashing athleticism, it’ll be interesting to see if he’ll be exposed in coverage at the next level due to subpar instincts. Also, the way he hits could lead to penalties.
Killebrew’s dedication to the sport stands out, and he’s the type of player who will do anything you ask of him. He’s a hard worker who will contribute on specials teams early on. According to some scouting reports, Killebrew lined up as a true safety majority of the time in certain coverages, but he’ll likely be an in-box safety as he adjusts to NFL speed. Duke’s Jeremy Cash, who is also a linebacker-safety hybrid, could be the other choice. Cash was PFF’s top-graded safety against the run as well as rushing the passer in 2015.
Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor:
Nov 14, 2015; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears defensive tackle Andrew Billings (75) during the game against the Oklahoma Sooners at McLane Stadium. The Sooners defeat the Bears 44-34. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Billings is the Baylor Bear. He’s been a beast since 18 years old. It all started when he broke Mark Henry’s powerlifting record his senior year at Waco High School in Texas. I don’t even think Mike Tyson and his pet tiger would want to mess with this guy (well, then again, Mike Tyson is crazy).
Before the draft, Billings was expected to go in the first two rounds. It’s Round 4, and he’s still available. Quite frankly, nobody knows why. Could it be his size? He’s only 6-foot-1 and weighs 311 pounds, which could be an issue in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Could it be an undisclosed injury? Based off the tweet below, I highly doubt it.
Sources close to Andrew Billings say he "doesn't have a knee injury." #baylor
— Jessica Morrey (@JessicaMorrey) April 30, 2016
He’s also very young at 20 years old, but that shouldn’t stop anybody from drafting a potential All-Pro. Maybe it’s because of his position. Whatever the case may be, PFF stated that Billings is possibly the best nose tackle in the draft who dominates in the run game and has the ability to get to the quarterback.
The Chargers signed nose tackle Brandon Mebane in the offseason, but the 31-year-old is not going to be part of the team’s long-term plans. Billings, who reminds me of an undersized Damon Harrison, is the space-eater of the future. The Chargers would get tremendous value with this pick.
*Inside linebackers Scooby Wright III and Nick Kwiatkoski would make sense for the Chargers as well.