The Eagles traded up from No. 25 to No. 22 to draft Andre Dillard, an offensive tackle out of Washington State.
Here’s what our beat writers think of the selection.
If you were told Thursday morning that the Eagles would land arguably the top left tackle on the board, you’d first ask what they needed to trade to land him and then you’d likely nod your head and call it a sensible pick. That’s how I feel about Andre Dillard, and the price wasn’t outrageous. They drafted him without sacrificing their two second-round picks.
It’s often the case that the team brass says it couldn’t believe the player it drafted was on the board, but that’s applicable with this pick. The run on defensive linemen/edge rushers, including 10 of the first 19 picks, pushed offensive linemen down the board. Dillard’s a player who didn’t seem like a possibility at No. 25 entering the night, and it’s why the Eagles made the move for the player they considered the best offensive tackle available.
And he’s a true left tackle; this isn’t a player who will need to kick over to guard to have an NFL career. That’s why I give them credit for this pick. It’s a premium position, and it’s hard to find top players there. Howie Roseman was right: The best left tackle is usually off the board before No. 22.
Time will tell if he becomes a good player — and it might be more time than usual, because he must apprentice for Jason Peters — but it’s a smart pick to make. It’s not a reach, it’s a valuable position, and it fits the team philosophy. So I’ll give it a thumb’s up, unless you’re judging it based on expected 2019 contributions.
When the team you cover drafts in the first round somebody you’ve done pretty much no prep work on, that generally means one of two things: It reached for a prospect most evaluators didn’t rate that highly, or it ended up being able to get a guy you figured would be gone long before its draft slot arrived.
With Andre Dillard, obviously, it’s the second scenario. I was among those who thought Dillard would go in the top 10. Let me know if you find any respected analyst who says he wasn’t a great value at 22nd overall.
If there’s room for criticism, it’s in the relinquishing of a fourth- and a sixth-round pick to move up three slots; Howie Roseman used to be the guy with the dozen draft picks, most of them toward the bottom of the draft. He seems to have done a 180 on that, unless there is a move to be made Friday or Saturday that will replenish the stockpile.
I guess you could also make a case that having the entire wide-receiver draft class available when your pick comes up might be worth looking into, but top-drawer left tackles are harder to find than good wideouts. It doesn’t bother me that Dillard probably won’t start this year if Jason Peters stays healthy. You don’t really draft for this year. Dillard would seem to be a long-term foundational figure, at such a key position. Solid move.
I’ve got mixed feelings about the move-up to get Dillard.
While I don’t necessarily disagree with the decision to take the draft’s best left tackle, I’m not crazy about the fact that they gave up two of their seven draft picks to the Ravens to get him.
This is a team that has openly preached about the importance of collecting draft picks to prepare for the Carson Wentz mega-deal.
And while it’s good that they didn’t relinquish either of their two second-round picks, the Eagles head into Friday with just four more picks: the two in the bottom third of the second round, one in round four and one in round five.
That said, I agree with Roseman that you can never have too much offensive-line depth. This will be Jason Peters’ last season — famous last words.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai seems better suited to be a backup than a starter, and while Jordan Mailata made tremendous strides in his first year of football, it’s still too early to say he definitely can be a long-term NFL starter.
Dillard is extremely athletic and good in space. He has tons of pass-pro experience playing in Mike Leach’s air-raid offense, but will need work on his run-blocking.
The Eagles could’ve stood pat, kept those two draft picks and taken one of the two edge rushers who went later in the first round — Montez Sweat or L.J. Collier — or Washington offensive tackle, Kaleb McGary, who went 31st to Atlanta.
But I guess it’s hard to complain about them getting a guy who might be their starting left tackle for most of Carson Wentz’s career.
I can’t say I saw this pick coming, but that doesn’t mean Andre Dillard won’t turn out to be a good or great NFL tackle. For one, I didn’t see him falling into the 20s. A few evaluators I spoke to said he would be gone within the first dozen picks. I had Dillard slotted to the Bills at No. 9.
But the draft, per usual, didn’t fall the way many had predicted. The Raiders took defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the fourth pick, way before many had projected, and then the Giants drafted quarterback Daniel Jones.
If those picks turned the top 10 on its ear, the drafting of many defensive linemen came with little surprise. Ten went in the first 19 picks. The Eagles, I believe, had hoped one would fall into their range. Maybe you can second-guess their decision to play it conservative there. But ultimately, a second-round price tag was too steep, and they likely started to key in on the O-line as Dillard and several others remained available.
If the Eagles truly had Dillard as a top-10 prospect and their top tackle and still managed to get him at No. 22, that’s a win on paper. They had to part with one of their fourth-round picks and their lone sixth, but they believe they got an impact player for the next decade. Who am I to argue without having really watched Dillard?