Ottawa’s Bilukidi shines

According to NFL writers Christo Bilukidi has a good chance of sticking with the Oakland Raiders this season.

(Photo Tony Gonzales, Raiders.com)

The son of an Angolan diplomat, Bilukidi played high school football at St. Patrick’s High School in Ottawa, Ontario.

The bilingual Canadian then played defensive end for two years for the Georgia State Panthers, but is playing defensive tackle for the Oakland Raiders this preseason. The Raiders drafted Bilukidi in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

After the Raiders first 2012 preseason game against the Cowboys, David Wilson of the Raider Nation Times wrote:

On the defensive side of the ball, the rookie that stood out most to me was Christo Bilukidi at defensive tackle. The Raiders have him listed at 311lbs, but he looks heavier than that to me. What he showed against the Cowboys was not only that he has the strength and technique to anchor vs the run, but that he has some pass rush ability.

He demonstrated that he had the power to collapse the pocket, but also on a several occasions showed the quickness to beat his man with an inside or outside move.

On a couple of plays he did get his pads a little high, but quickly anchored down and was very difficult for the offensive line to move around.

If Dennis Allen and Jason Tarver are looking for a player to man the nose tackle position in some 3-4 fronts, the Bilukidi might just be their guy.

The strong play continues what has been an impressive training camp.

On July 31 CBSSports.com’s Eric Gilmore described Bilukidi’s strong start at training camp. Gilmore wrote:

As a sixth-round draft pick out of tiny Georgia State, Raiders defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi arrived at training camp with the goal of getting noticed.

Bilukidi did exactly that Monday on the final snap of the Raiders’ first camp practice in Napa under new coach Dennis Allen.

The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Bilukidi stepped in front of a screen pass from quarterback Terrelle Pryor, intercepted it and rumbled into the end zone.

“It’s big because, as a rookie, no matter what, you’re trying to make this team,” Bilukidi told Gilmore. “Anything to impress these coaches is probably the No. 1 thing. Making plays everywhere around the field. Making plays is huge, but another big thing is hustling down the field –showing coaches that you want to play football, that you want to play for this team and that you want to make this 53-man roster.”

Bilukidi is built like anything but a defensive back, but he channeled his inner DB on that play.

“I just read it,” he told Gilmore. “It seemed like everything that coach was teaching us, how to read plays, how to read the offense, saw it was a screen. I just backed up and then just had to make a play.

“I played a little tight end when I was back in high school, so, yeah, the hands are a little bit there.”

On august 14 Gilmore also wrote that he expects Bilukidi to survive the team’s upcoming roster cuts, including the Canadian in what he projects as the 53-man roster for the Raiders.