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2019 NFL Mock Draft: Eagles pick potential Jason Peters replacement

How’re you feeling about this pick?

NCAA Football: UCLA at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

There are 87 days until the 2019 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 25. We’re going to kill some time until then with our weekly Mock Draft Monday series. You can also check out BGN’s latest mock draft roundup.

Last week, SB Nation’s Dan Kadar had the Philadelphia Eagles taking an offensive tackle at pick No. 25. This week, Kadar has the Birds taking a different offensive tackle:

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State: Dillard did well for himself at the Senior Bowl, an event that isn’t always kind to offensive linemen who get forced into constant one-on-one positions in practice. Dillard helped himself not only with his play, but by weighing in at 310 pounds. That should erase any questions about his size as a pro. Bookends of Dillard and Lane Johnson would give the Eagles arguably the most athletic tandem of offensive tackles in the NFL.

BGN’s Michael Kist, who attended Senior Bowl practices, said Dillard had a “very good week” down in Mobile. Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah actually has Dillard as his No. 12 rated prospect:

Dillard has an athletic frame for the position and he’s a very easy mover. In pass protection, he explodes out of his stance and plays with tremendous knee bend, patience and balance. He shoots his hands in tight and can redirect with very little effort. When opponents get into his chest, he is quick to re-work his hands and regain leverage. In the run game, he is more of a finesse, wall-off player than a people-mover. He has the athleticism to work up to the second level and I believe he’ll be effective on outside pulls. Overall, Dillard is a pure, pass-protecting left tackle. Yes, he needs to get stronger and more physical, but in a passing league, what he does best is highly coveted.

Here’s a more detailed scouting report from BGN’s Benjamin Solak, via The Draft Network:

PROS: Very quick mover with active feet. Has excellent recovery quickness. Carries his weight naturally and can uncoil his hips to generate power, though it’s infrequent on tape. Explosiveness out of stance on running assignments is clear. Works great angles to the second level and regularly gets hips situated to create rushing lanes. Agility enough for all zone responsibilities, though lack of power limits ability here. Proactive in pass protection with hands, especially when approaching stunts and twists. Grip strength, when hands are correctly placed, impresses. Can sustain reps with grip, active footwork, and constant resetting of angles as the rush develops.

CONS: Lacks power and anchor in a bad way, and as such, pass protection is generally a mess. Wants to keep the entire pass protection rep at the edge of his length, locking out elbows and screening with quick feet instead of engaging upper body to dictate where the rusher goes. Hand location is accordingly wildly inconsistent (often wide, catch instead of punch), and has a tendency to pop and screen in pass protection instead of using length grip and control.

As a result of hand technique and lack of functional power, is woefully susceptible to power. Bull rushes regularly walk him back into lap of quarterback. Full extension technique results in massive forward lean and hinging at the hips, which leaves him highly vulnerable to the push-pull. Vertical set technique typical of Washington State can weaken his explosiveness out of his stance and limit his depth in his pass set, forcing him to open the door to beat speed rushers to the corner. Vertical set and tendency to play with lean also leads to excessive widening of his base, which caps his ability to react to quickness; as such, can lose to stutter steps and feints that force him to widen.

I’ll repeat what I’ve said many times by now: the Eagles have had success in recent years because they’ve heavily invested in the trenches. I’m all for them continuing to make the lines strong.

The guess here is that Jason Peters will be back in 2019, as hard as that might be for some to believe. The 37-year-old actually didn’t miss a single start last year but he obviously did have to leave a number of games early as he played through quadriceps and biceps injuries.

While Peters might be able to still get the job done in the short-term, the Eagles need a more reliable long-term option behind him. Halapoulivaati Vaitai is better suited to be a swing tackle than a full-time starter ... and he’s also a free agent after 2019. Dillard could take over for Peters on the left side in 2020.


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