Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Round 1, Pick 22
The Eagles were trade up candidates for the first round for a while. Although they didn’t trade up beforehand, it was probably for the better. As always, you should expect the unexpected when it comes to the first round of the NFL Draft. Just because scouts talk highly or even down on a prospect, doesn’t indicate that the front office’s view players the same way. Therefore, the first round had a few shakeups, which the Eagles benefitted from.
Washington State’s Andre Dillard was viewed as a Top-15 pick by most draft publications. To the Eagles, he was a top-ten talent, and they didn’t really expect him to drop that far. By the time the 22nd pick rolled around, the Eagles had realized they had an opportunity to trade up and get Dillard. So Roseman got on the phone and hopped over the Houston Texans, who were expected to draft Dillard with the 23rd pick. Just like that, the Eagles have a new left tackle.
While many were expecting the Eagles to get a defensive lineman early on, it’s pretty evident that offensive line was a need as well. With Jason Peters on his final season of potentially his entire career, the Eagles need to start looking for a way to patch up that hole on the left side of the line. Peters is not a player who can be replaced easily.
Therefore, the Eagles needed to spend their highest pick on a guy who can come in and develop under one of the best linemen in the game, along with one of the best offensive line coaches as well. Dillard has his strengths, which is in the passing game where he only allowed one sack last year. Then, there are parts of his game that are unknown, which automatically make them weaknesses. It’s unclear if Dillard can adapt to stellar run blocking in the NFL, but at least the Eagles have a guy who is expected to be one of the top pass protectors in the class.