Raiders Cut No. 3 – Andrew Billings
This one might be a surprise cut after an impressive showing against the Vikings and, in general, throughout the preseason. The fact is, the top two interior lineman positions were locked in before the preseason began. Johnathan Hankins and Bilal Nichols, run-stuffing specialists, will be anchoring Patrick Graham’s defense come Week 1.
Billings is in a tough spot largely due to the Raiders’ having two rookie linemen that need time to develop, and that won’t be taking place on the practice squad. We’re referring to Neil Farrell and Matthew Butler. You could definitely make the argument that Farrell has been mostly unimpressive in the last few weeks. Clearly, neither one is ready, while Billings was solid during that same time. Against the Vikings, Billings displayed an ability to hold his own in run defense. You could tell the difference once Billings was out of the game; the interior floundered.
Again, though, the issue is having to develop players that were some of Ziegler’s first draft picks. Going into the regular season opener, the Raiders will carry Hankins, Nichols, and Kendal Vickers to handle most of the snaps. Behind them, Farrell and Butler will be developmental backups, with Billings the odd man out.