The Philadelphia Eagles traded up to No. 22 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft in order to select Washington State offensive tackle Andre Dillard. Howie Roseman said Dillard was a top 10 player on the team’s board and their top graded tackle.
In order to learn more about Dillard, I reached out to SB Nation’s Washington State blog: CougCenter. Cougars writer Jeff Nusser was kind enough to answer my questions.
1) Can you sum up what Dillard’s college career was like?
The word I’d use is “steady” -- which, of course, is exactly what you want out of an offensive lineman, right? I think most people are aware of his story by now: Lightly recruited as a 240-pound project, he was a 300-pound starter by the time he was a redshirt sophomore, then went on to be a third team all-American. Dillard’s five-year career was an incredible testament to his work ethic and commitment to excellence -- he packed on all that weight but didn’t lose any of the athleticism, which is what allowed him to dominate and neutralize all comers in the Pac-12.
2) What are his strengths?
Of course, everyone will point to his pass protection, since that’s the way he set up on about 70% of his snaps at WSU. But I’d also point to the “intangibles” that allowed him to become what he became -- the time he spent in the weight room, the way he developed and refined his technique over the years to anchor the left side of the line, the leadership he displayed. Additionally, once he made his first start, he was in the lineup every week until the end of his career; he started every game for the final three years of his career.
3) What are his weaknesses?
Conversely, everyone will point to his run blocking, since he rarely did that relative to his peers. I don’t know that it’s a weakness, however; I think we just don’t know how good he is at it when it comes to the varied things an NFL team will ask him to do within its run scheme. I also think he’s probably unlikely to get much heavier, which might limit just how good he can be in this regard.
4) Are you surprised where he was drafted? Higher or lower than expected? Just right?
I think we thought he might have gone a bit higher, but it just seemed that there weren’t a lot of teams in the market for a left tackle. You’re welcome, Eagles!
5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?
I watched Walter Jones for a decade (Seahawks fan over here); you all have watched Jason Peters for a decade. Does he have that kind of upside? I wouldn’t put it past him, but that seems like a lot to ask to put him on a Hall of Fame trajectory out of the gate. I think he’ll likely be a reliable, above average starter for a long time -- someone like Duane Brown, who currently anchors the left side of the Seahawks’ line. If he turns out like that -- a handful of Pro Bowls, a few 1st/2nd team All-Pros -- I think everyone is exceedingly pleased. I’d be shocked if he turns out to be a bust; he was just too reliable and too steady for too long, and he checks too many boxes.
6) Anything to know about him off the field?
Not much in addition to what’s been said: He seems like a great kid who takes great pride in his work to maximize his potential.
Jeff Stoutland and Fran Duffy break him down:
More film study:
Relative athletic score:
With the 22nd pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the #Eagles select Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 26, 2019
Andre Dillard posted a Elite #RAS with Okay size, Elite speed, Great explosiveness, Elite agility at the OT position. pic.twitter.com/bpgXmpTYnb