Philadelphia Eagles roster battles: Andre Dillard versus Jordan Mailata

Jordan Mailata (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jordan Mailata (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Andre Dillard #77, Philadelphia Eagles
Andre Dillard #77, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t take Andre Dillard in Round 1 for no reason.

Andre Dillard has been called soft, mentally weak, and a bust. What’s crazy about that is he’s played 16 games over the course of his young NFL career. 16 games folks!

Mention Andre Dillard to most Eagles fans, and you’ll hear phrases like “just trade him”, but just in case you haven’t noticed, he’s still on the roster. There isn’t a coach on the staff that doesn’t light up when they talk about this young man’s potential and ceiling. Perhaps you may have forgotten, but this is a former first-round draft choice.

No one disagreed with that decision when it happened. He wasn’t taken 22nd overall for no reason.

Sure, he’s been hurt, and the NFL is an ‘out of sight and out of mind’ league. Sure, it seems like it’s been forever since we’ve seen 77 out on the playing field. Still, though many of you have forgotten this, Dillard was widely seen by quite a few scouts and draft pundits as one of the top three offensive tackles in the 2019 selection meeting. Other than an issue when he was asked to man the right tackle position (that didn’t go well), much of his rookie tape suggests that he deserves an opportunity to develop.

No one disputes the fact that quarterbacks need to play and gain experience. No one believes that there won’t be growing pains with young guys playing in the secondary. Why, then, do we expect offensive linemen to make the leap from the collegiate level to the professional ranks?

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What would have happened had the Eagles given up on Halapoulivaati Vaitai after his first start? That didn’t go well as he was abused by Ryan Kerrigan. Here’s the answer to that question if you don’t already know. Philly may not have won the Super Bowl. Big V was just as important to that championship team as every other reserve that stepped up.

Be patient. Let this kid develop, and let’s reassess later because if we’re being honest, he’s actually more talented than Jordan Mailata. That’s why one guy is a first-rounder and one guy was a seventh.