Eagles

2019 NFL draft: Eagles trade up to take OT Andre Dillard

2019 NFL draft: Eagles trade up to take OT Andre Dillard

With the 22nd pick in the draft, the Eagles on Thursday night selected Washington State offensive lineman Andre Dillard.

They couldn’t wait to take him. The Eagles traded up three spots to take Dillard. They gave up a fourth-rounder (127) and a sixth-rounder (197) to make the move from 25 to 22 (see story)

The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Dillard gives the Eagles an NFL-ready offensive lineman who can back up Lane Johnson and Jason Peters this year and presumably compete for a starting job next year assuming Peters retires.

Dillard is a smooth, polished three-year starter with terrific footwork and strength. Any question about whether he was a top-25 pick went out the window when he crushed it at the combine, where he ran 4.96, had the second-fastest cone drill and the fastest short-shuttle drill among linemen.

The biggest question about Dillard is his run-blocking ability, since Washington State basically throws every down — the Huskies had 4,859 passing yards and just 1,096 rushing yards last year. But he’s athletic enough that getting up to par shouldn’t be a problem. And the way the NFL is these days, pass blocking is far more important.

The Eagles have some questions along the offensive line, with Peters nearing the end, Stefen Wisniewski gone, Jason Kelce openly mulling retirement on an annual basis and Brandon Brooks coming back from an Achilles injury.

Jordan Mailata is an intriguing prospect but remains untested, Halapoulivaati Vaitai has been a Super Bowl starter but has been very inconsistent as he moves into his fourth season and Matt Pryor hasn’t played.

Dillard is the third offensive lineman the Eagles have drafted in the first round since 2011 and the first Washington State player the Eagles have drafted since receiver Brandon Gibson in the sixth round in 2009.

The only Washington State player the Eagles have ever taken in the first three rounds is linebacker James Darling, a second-round pick in 1997. Darling spent 10 years in the NFL, the first four with the Eagles.

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Nigel Bradham says goodbye to Eagles fans

Nigel Bradham says goodbye to Eagles fans

The Eagles officially released veteran linebacker Nigel Bradham on Wednesday and a day later, the 30-year-old said goodbye to Eagles fans and his former teammates. 

After spending his first four seasons in Buffalo, Bradham spent the last four years in Philadelphia and helped the Eagles reach the ultimate peak when they beat the Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII. 

There’s still an outside chance that Bradham could return to the Eagles if he tests a lukewarm market and the Eagles are agreeable. I’m told he’s not closing the door on that possibility. But it seems very likely Bradham has played his final game in an Eagles uniform. 

The Eagles have prioritized getting younger and faster this offseason and bringing back Bradham wouldn’t help in either area. 

Bradham is originally from Florida but it’s clear that Philadelphia means a lot to him. On locker cleanout day, he and I talked about his four years with the Eagles and in the city. 

I enjoy Philly, man, the city, the atmosphere, everything this team does, organization-wise, what we believe in. Just being resilient. I really feel like it matches my play style. Just tough mentally and physically, battle through anything, not backing down from anything. Those type of characteristics, I feel like I have a lot of them. Being put in any situation at any position, things like that. When you’re in those situations, it’s a nice place to be, to call home.

Instead of just declining his contract option, which would have made him a free agent on March 18, the Eagles released him on Wednesday to give him a jump on finding a new team. A nice parting gesture. 

In his four years with the Eagles, Bradham played and started in 58 games (more than he played in Buffalo). He also played and started in six playoff games, including Super Bowl LII, when he had seven tackles and a QB hit. 

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Eagle Eye podcast: Our thoughts on NFL’s proposed playoff changes

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Eagle Eye podcast: Our thoughts on NFL’s proposed playoff changes

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro give their thoughts on the NFL’s new proposed changes to the playoff format. 

A complete breakdown of the Eagles’ philosophy on the linebacker position, whether or not Stefon Diggs would make sense as a trade target and more. 

Plus, a complete Eagles primer as the team gets ready to head to the combine. 

• Thoughts on proposed playoff format 
• The good and the bad 
• It’s all about the $$$$$
• Eagles don’t put resources into LB 
• Stefon Diggs as possible target 
• Eagles combine storylines 

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