Eagles Trade-up for LT of the Future
PHILADELPHIA - For the second consecutive year the Eagles worked some first-round magic with the Baltimore Ravens.
In 2018 Philadelphia dropped out of the first round as the Ravens reached back in to take quarterback Lamar Jackson at No. 32 overall. This time it was the Eagles moving up three spots -- from No. 25 to No. 22 -- to snare the heir apparent to aging left tackle Jason Peters in former Washington State star Andre Dillard.
Dillard, regarded as the best pure pass-blocker in the draft, was projected by most as a potential top-15 pick but started to drift a bit and Philadelphia sent two picks -- a fourth (No. 127 overall) and a sixth (No. 197) to jump ahead of offensive line-needy Houston, which ended up taking Alabama State OT Tytus Howard with the 23rd selection.
"That wasn’t what we anticipated. Our evaluation was this was the best tackle in the draft. Usually, those guys go in the top 10. That’s how we had it rated," Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said. "When he started to fall, we saw an opportunity to get a top 10 player."
Dillard, 23, is 6-foot-5 and 315 pound with 41 starts at Washington State in a pass-happy offense a blind-side pass protector. The knock on him is as a run blocker but the Eagles believe the traits are there and much of that had to do with the offense he was in.
"Just speaking on Andre, his foot quickness, his lower body flex, his ability to redirect – those are all very intriguing things to us," VP of player personnel Joe Douglas said..
And the run blocking?
"You know, it's something that, again, as we get him in here and get him going, yeah, they did throw the ball a lot at Washington State, and that's a credit to what they did, and that's why he's a good pass protector," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. "We pride ourselves in running the ball here, and he's going to come in and learn, and that's the thing.
"It's why Jeff Stoutland is here. He's a great teacher and he's a great fundamentalist, and he's going to work on every aspect of every one of our players' games up front. And so, I have no hesitation that he's going to be a good run blocker for us."
Roseman admitted that the Eagles were trying to move ahead of the Ravens to No. 21 before making a deal with them. That may indicate receiver Marquise Brown was the original choice until Dillard began to slip. Baltimore became interested when Eagles shifted gears and ultimately got Brown at No. 25.
"To be honest, we were trying to go up ahead of Baltimore," Roseman said. "We just couldn't come to an agreement. It just kind of worked out that way. Obviously, we knew, or we thought that [Houston] was a spot that probably there was a chance that they were going to take an offensive tackle, which they did, and we just had to go by our board, and that was a top guy on our board. Certainly, we thought if we didn't get to Baltimore’s spot there was a chance we'd lose the player, and I think all of us really wanted to make sure we got the player."