Eagles Insider

Dillard leaves Eagles practice with knee injury

Eagles Insider

Andre Dillard, the Eagles’ 2019 first-round pick, is out for multiple weeks with a knee sprain, the Eagles announced Tuesday afternoon.

Dillard came up hobbling after a rep in a 1-on-1 drill in the first half hour of practice. He walked to the medical tent adjacent to the practice field and eventually emerged and went inside the NovaCare Complex with a trainer.

The Eagles list Dillard as “week-to-week,” which in Eagles parlance means he’s expected to miss multiple weeks.

Dillard has been competing for the starting left tackle job with Jordan Mailata, but Mailata, a seventh-round pick in 2018, has thoroughly outplayed him throughout the first two weeks of camp. 

The two have alternated practice days with the first-team offense, and Tuesday was Dillard’s turn with the starting unit.

Dillard, the 22nd pick in the 2019 draft, started four games as a rookie but missed all of last year after suffering a torn biceps at practice on Aug. 27. Mailata, who had never played in the NFL (or anywhere else), ended up starting 10 games and played well.

Dillard said in June he was stronger than he’s ever been and had a new appreciation for football.

“I feel so much different than before,” Dillard said. “I’ve matured a lot in a lot of ways just in terms of knowing the plays, polishing my technique, having the right mindset with all the different things that come with being a pro. I really think the biggest thing for me is confidence. 

 

“My rookie year I wasn’t as confident and over the years I’ve put so much work in to better myself as a player and a person. I honestly feel like I’m a different person in a lot of aspects than my first year. Completely different.”

But Dillard was not able to translate that personal growth into performance on the field. He hasn't been awful, but Mailata is just far ahead of him.

How much of a setback this is for Dillard remains to be seen. 

Mailata had taken ownership of the competition, leaving Dillard’s future in doubt. Because Dillard doesn’t play any other positions — his one start at right tackle was a disaster — he doesn’t have tremendous value as a backup. The possibility has been there that once the Eagles declared Mailata the starter they would try to trade Dillard to a team needing a left tackle. But depending how serious this injury is, that might be impossible.

The Eagles don’t have a ton of experienced depth at offensive tackle. Their remaining healthy tackles other than Mailata and right tackle Lane Johnson are Jack Driscoll, Matt Pryor, Brett Toth, Casey Tucker and Le’Raven Clark, who is currently hurt and on PUP. 

Undrafted rookie Kayode Awosika, who has had a nice training camp, can play guard or tackle. Driscoll started four games at right tackle last year and Pryor has started 10 games at guard and tackle in his two NFL seasons.

The Eagles also announced that second-year safety K’Von Wallace, who also left practice early, is week-to-week with a groin strain. 

This story was updated at 3:27 p.m. ET.

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