After the Eagles made the trade up to No. 22 to take offensive tackle Andre Dillard, Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson and Joe Douglas spoke to the media about the evaluation process and what the rookie will bring to the table.
Howie said that Andre Dillard was a Top 10 pick in their eyes, and put him as the top tackle in the draft according to their evaluations. He noted that this was not how they thought things would work out, but when he was still available they had to make the move.
“When he started to fall we just saw an opportunity to get a Top 10 player. When you have a Top 10 player at an important position, it doesn’t matter about the depth on our team, we’re trying to load up on the lines.”
On what specifically they liked about Dillard:
“He’s got great feet, and really, really smooth pass protector, long arms, big hands, great character. You can see a lot of things we do offensively, at the same time he’s got a lot of room to grow, he hasn’t hit his ceiling.”
Howie went on to talk about what the process was for them as they saw Dillard start to slide, and he noted that it was important for them to protect the two second round picks (No. 53 and 57). He later said that they actually tried to jump Baltimore on the board, but they couldn’t come to an agreement, so it kind of worked out that way that they were able to get the OT at No. 22.
Pederson was asked if he was nudging Howie to add some protection for Carson Wentz, and the head coach called Dillard a special player and has a really good opportunity to develop under Jason Peters and with offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland. He said that as Dillard kept dropping and they were getting closer, the conversations picked up, but that they are really excited to get him in the building and get to work.
The head coach wouldn’t talk about exactly where they see him lining up on the offensive line. Rather, Pederson emphasized that right now they just see him as a guy who can come in and learn, whether they keep him at tackle or move him inside to guard for the time being.
Joe Douglas was then asked about the process of scouting Dillard, and he noted that one of their lead scouts lives pretty close to Washington State and he did a great job getting to know the player. Douglas talked about how they also had a really good opportunity to get to know him during their Senior Bowl interview.
Howie then talked about Stoutland’s take on Dillard, and the GM noted that Stoutland gets very passionate about certain guys and when he talks about Dillard’s lower body flexibility, his excitement level raises. Stoutland talks about guys who are unusual and that’s what the coach used to describe Dillard — he’s not a normal athlete, and he’s excited.
Roseman also noted that they liked the depth at offensive line they had before Thursday’s pick, but finding big men with quick feet is difficult, and they were happy to add even more depth at the position.
The GM also wasn’t concerned with Dillard being a bit older than some of the other prospects (turns 24 in October), noting that he still hasn’t hit his ceiling, which is something they evaluate when looking at ages. They’re very happy with how smart he is and how eager he is to be coached — especially in the run game — and know they can really develop him.
Roseman said he wasn’t aware of the report that the Eagles were close to a trade with the Dolphins at No. 13 for Christian Wilkins, and that the trade they got was the one they were working on. (Sure.) He also said that re-signing Timmy Jernigan didn’t affect them not taking a defensive lineman, and they just wanted to get one of the top players on their board.