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.
Looking good. pic.twitter.com/iCEbBC7BHv— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 26, 2019
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