A 2012 sixth-round pick who was virtually unheard of heading into the draft, Bilukidi has shown some stuff since joining the Raiders. While appearing in 13 games during his rookie campaign as a rotational defensive lineman, the former Panther picked up eight tackles and a defended pass. According to Pro Football Focus, he was generally ineffective, racking up minimal tackles and only three pressures in 249 snaps.
Still, the Raiders see some potential in the small-school product. So much that they had Bilukidi running alongside recently-acquired Vance Walker with the first-team defense during OTAs. He may be a raw talent with limited upside, but the Raiders appear willing to give him the opportunity to earn a starting spot as the rebuilding process continues.
Once training camp arrives, Bilukidi will enter a battle with Walker, Pat Sims and rookie Stacy McGee for the two starting defensive tackle spots. Considering his early leg up on the competition and versatility at 6’4’’, 289 pounds, there’s a good chance that the small-school talent emerges at the top of the depth chart. In a worst-case scenario, Bilukidi will be part of a three-man rotation.
The Raiders fielded one of the worst run defenses in the NFL in 2012. With their high-priced veterans gone, Bilukidi has the perfect opportunity to team with Oakland’s bargain-bin signings and take a step in the right direction.
Bilukidi figures to be one of the Raiders’ surprises of 2013. If all goes as planned, the first Georgia State player drafted into the NFL will also be the first to make a name for himself.