Eagles bolster offensive line with top pick

Ed Benkin
April 26, 2019 - 7:06 am
Andre Dillard (Washington State) is selected as the number twenty-two overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft in Downtown Nashville.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Categories: 

NASHVILLE (KYW Newsradio) — The Eagles did not want to wait to find a future replacement for their Hall of Fame tackle.

The Eagles are excited to have Jason Peters back for another season, but Peters is coming off an injury-riddled year and is 37 years old. At some point, the team has to prepare for life without Peters, and the selection of Andre Dillard in round one of the draft gives the Eagles a rookie to groom for the left tackle position. 

General Manager Howie Roseman was thrilled for the opportunity to get Dillard and believes he will fit in well as he learns from one of the best tackles in the NFL.
 
"It's always about taking the best player," Roseman said. "We went into free agency to try to address a lot of the needs on our team so we could be in position tonight and the rest of the weekend to take the best players. This is certainly not a need position. We have a Hall of Fame left tackle, and again, he's got a great opportunity to come in and learn from Jason and at some point in time get an opportunity to play."

Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman
Ed Benkin/KYW Newsradio

Related: Eagles select Andre Dillard with pick No. 22

The Eagles were slated to pick 25th overall, but wanted to make sure they would land Dillard. Roseman traded up from the 25th to the 22nd spot in round one with Baltimore and also sent a fourth- and sixth-round pick to the Ravens. Roseman believes the trade was well worth it, even if offensive tackle was not an immediate need for the team.

"Our evaluation was this was the best tackle in the draft," Roseman said. "Usually, those guys go in the top 10. That's how we had him rated. When he started to fall, we just saw an opportunity to get a top 10 player. Again, 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. We've talked about that a lot with you guys, and that's how we roll."

As the Eagles' time on the clock drew closer, the team was excited at the thought of drafting Dillard. Head Coach Doug Pederson agreed with Roseman about Dillard's potential and said the excitement began to build as Dillard remained on the board.

"He's a special player," Pederson said. "He's got a great opportunity to learn from one of the best left tackles in our game. As it got closer, you just try to make some eye contact and the conversation picks up a little bit, and we're just excited and thrilled to get him and get him in here and get him going."

Roseman had vowed the team would take the best player available and they are hoping that will be the case with Dillard.  Finding an offensive lineman can be particularly difficult and Roseman believes this roll of the dice for Dillard will be well worth it.

"It's hard to find offensive linemen," Roseman said. "It's hard to find guys with great feet, big bodies, big hands. It's hard to find these guys. They don't grow on trees. There's very few people in the world. There's very few big men with that kind of feet and so it's just unusual to get him."