News Conference Transcriptt
Initial comments ...
"It was real exciting for us up there in the room. Andrew Billings was one of the guys we had rated pretty high. What he provides for us is not just a guy within our defensive line rotation, but a real anchor point. He just turned 21 a couple weeks ago, so he's a young guy with a lot of upside. He played three years of football there at Baylor and he's just been a really strong and productive player. He's got a great future ahead of him.
"He's strong. He can really use his strength there at the line of scrimmage. He will really give us an asset that way."
It seemed like the mystery of yesterday from yesterday was, 'Why is Andrew Billings still around?' Why do you think he was?
"I think it was his height, maybe, you know? His height (6-1) is restrictive in some ways for some people. But we've done pretty well with these guys that we've been able to find that have certain characteristics that catch our eye. Then you get to know the player a little bit more and you really like everything about him. We couldn't be happier."
Where you rated him, it was obviously hard to pass him up around this time around?
"Yes. That might have been mentioned up there. (laughs) We've done a good job of drafting to the best player that we have graded as a consensus, and not to bypass that. At some point, we've got to pick that guy, and we'll find a place to fit him in, and that was the case with Andrew. It felt really good."
Defensive line coach
Initial comments ...
"Andrew, his game is really solid. He'll be really solid in the middle of the defense and that's kind of what he does best. Even though he may not have a lot of height at 6 feet, he has long arms, so he doesn't play short. He tosses offensive lineman off of him. He doesn't get captured. He can move to the ball and plays tough. He's a knocker. In a 4-3 defense, that's crucial before you have success, so he's a guy that's going to help our defense at the tackle position in a hurry."
How strong is he?
"Extremely. He has some records as a power lifter — deadlifts, squats and those type of things. Even more importantly, he uses that to play football. He's not a phone-booth guy; he makes plays tackle-to-tackle in the run game and pushes the pocket in the passing game. He's not just a guy that stands in one spot because he's strong; his strength is mobile."
Do you expect Billings to play right away or will he sit and learn initially?
"Coaching these guys, you're coaching the player and not coaching for the future, or whatever that might be from that standpoint. He's going to come in and he's going to get ready to play, like all them. To me, there's no process of saying, 'Okay, let's let him stew for a while.' Of course you guys know we're in the win-now business. So he's going to come in, get ready, and let's go."
In your system, how is he as far as lateral movement up and down the line of scrimmage?
"Sometimes when you talk about guys being strong, you're talking about someone that's stiff, stiff in their hips, and when they make plays, is when they come right at them. But this guy moves, that's why I said tackle-to-tackle, and running for long plays, sweeps and screens. This guy's a leader. He's a tough-minded individual. He's young, but he's a leader, tough-minded in a sense of responsible-minded. And when you think of a defensive lineman, your job may not always be the one to make the tackle, but you make more plays than tackles in that position. So this guy understands responsibility as well. So there is a lot of upside with this kid."
Since he wasn't selected until the fourth round, do you expect him to carry a chip on his shoulder?
"You already know it, don't you? He's a guy that'll think, 'They should have taken me whenever,' and that's fine. That'll just be motivation for him from that standpoint. Hopefully it stays with him for his entire career, not just one year. He's that kind of person. I haven't been around him a tremendous amount, obviously, but he'll take where he was drafted as a challenge — not as something to be depressed about, but as a challenge to prove that people missed him."
He's known for his play against the run. What more do you want to get out of him?
"Is there an area of concern? No, from that standpoint, pushing the pocket and those things. And as players practice, they get better. But do I see a glaring weakness that needs to be addressed in order for him have success? Not in that sense. He just has to improve, this is the NFL. He's going to have the same shock-and-awe, so to speak, that they're all going to have, from first-rounders to free agents. But he'll be able to handle it, like I said; he's a mature-minded guy. He'll be ready to go. But yeah, just he needs to improve, just like any rounder when you get into the NFL."
Defensive tackle, Baylor
What was this moment like for you?
"It was a huge moment. I hadn't seen it on TV yet, so I didn't know who was calling. It was a huge relief."
Were you surprised you were there this long?
"Yeah, I was."
What do you know about the Bengals and the division?
"I know it's very physical. They have the best defensive line coach in the league, and I'm happy for that to help me develop myself."
Does this put a chip on your shoulder?
"It's huge. I can't even explain how huge it is. I like the feeling though."
So a chip as big as a 2x4?
How strong are you?
"I squatted 805 my senior year in high school."
How much do you bench?
"605. I did 605 this season."
How long are your arms?
So you rep 450?
"The most I repped was 450."
So you haven't squatted since you were a senior in high school?"
"I haven't squatted over 670 since high school. I just workout on squat now, I don't max out."
Did you get an invite to Chicago?
"No. I was misinformed."
How does Baylor's defensive style translate to the NFL?
"It transfers well. I learned more about offense than I thought I'd learn from anyone. It's all about how you see the players. We don't have many plans, a huddle or even a playbook, so you have to really rely on your knowledge."
When was the last time you were single blocked?
"The last time was actually this year vs. TCU. And I got a sack."
What was this wait like?
"I had a bunch of people over. My agent was there. It was a little anxious at first. Then my agent starting going crazy once the third round passed. Then we sat down and talked about it, thought about Geno Atkins who went in the fourth round. For me, I'm just happy to be drafted."
What do you know about Geno Atkins?
"Not much except he was a great player who was drafted in the fourth round."
Is he a guy you watch?
"I have never watched him. I'm about to go watch him now."
As far as the knowledge you get from your agent, when and where were you expecting to go?
"Minnesota, Green Bay and the Redskins were all possible in the late first-round. And basically it was the same teams in the second. I believe when the third-round came around, Minnesota was going to pick me. But then, they had a trade with the Dolphins where they were getting a lot of picks and weren't going to pass up. So I didn't get picked there. And then it came around to the fourth round and Cincinnati got me."
So you were thinking Minnesota was a landing spot?
Did you talk to Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer at all?
Do you think the disappointment of falling this far will roll off your back eventually, or will you carry it with you all year ...
"This is something I'm going to carry with me my whole life. It's actually a good thing for me, I believe."
So you want to make everyone pay for passing up on you?
How did your time as an offensive tackle in high school prepare you in college for your time as a defensive tackle?
"That helped me a lot. I learned the rules in high school, what they can do and can't. I know where their eyes need to be. And I know a little bit more about using my leverage."
Is it true you had 266 pancake blocks in high school?
You've never been pancaked though, have you?
Did you say TCU was the only team that tried to single-block you?
"Yep. This year."
How many sacks did you end up with this year?
"Five and a half."
How many did you have against TCU?
Do you think that's a reason teams passed on you? Maybe they were looking for more of a pass-rusher?
"Yeah. I think that's something. They really wanted a pass-rusher, and edge-rusher to get sacks and crank the pressure for the corners. I think that definitely played as a factor."
How much value do you put on just being in the backfield, but not necessarily getting the sack or pressure?
"That's the biggest thing for someone in my position. Same thing as the offensive line. If I'm not going three yards in the direction I want to go, then I'm not doing anything. Same thing with the defensive line. I need to get three yards back there, no matter what it is — run, pass, anything. I need to get back there."
Do you watch any tape of pro defensive tackles?
"I watch a lot of tape of Vince Wilfork. I used to watch Ndamukong Suh a lot, but I kind of got away from that."
"I don't know. I think just because our season started and stopped watching NFL and started watching more college."