Philadelphia Eagles: 3 takeaways from Day 1 of Training Camp

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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It’s here, it’s finally here; after months of anticipation, the Philadelphia Eagles have officially taken the field at the NovaCare Center for the first day of Training Camp.

Gone are the days of baseless speculation, speculation-based projections, and general pontification, as fans of Philly’s finest can actually sink their collective teeth into real, tangible on-field performances from the 90 players currently under contract with the Eagles.

Will we see a surprise development from a young player? Or how about a darkhorse diamond in the rough? Will the Birds exit camp without any major injuries or could the very fabric of the season be called into question because a vital player ends up lost for the season?

Only time will tell, but even on Day 1, there were a ton of interesting storylines that are worth watching moving forward.

1. Andre Dillard gets the first crack at left tackle

Despite some strong showings from Jordan Mailata in 2020, it would appear Andre Dillard may have the initial lead in the Philadelphia Eagles’ left tackle completion, as the Washington State Cougar earned the first run with the first team on the first day of Nick Sirianni’s first training camp.

Now, in theory, giving the former first-round pick every opportunity to compete for the job he was drafted to fill makes sense. Dillard is entering his third professional season and is technically under team control until the end of 2023 if the team picks up his fifth-year option.

While Dillard drew ire for his comments about playing on the right side in 2019 and his general lack of on-field success in his debut NFL season, he’s still one of the most athletically gifted tackles in the NFL today and a capable pass blocker who only allowed a single sack during his senior season in Mike Leach’s pass-happy offense.

Mailata, by contrast, is entering the final year of his rookie contract and could be in line for a serious pay raise from the seventh-round pick money he’s been earning since 2018. While he has more actual NFL experience than Dillard, his first-round foil is a lifelong offensive tackle, as opposed to an ex-rugby who just picked up the sport midway through last decade.

If Dillard wins the starting role, the Eagles could surely bring back Mailata moving forward on a more team-friendly deal to serve as a developmental right tackle in the wings, but if things go the other way, that outcome appears far less certain.

Could this all change? Could Mailata start come Week 1 or even tomorrow? Most definitely, but for today at least, it would appear the Eagles’ left tackle completion is just heating up.

Bonus takeaway: Unsurprisingly, the Jalen Hurts-Devonta Smith connection is back and better than ever. Those two are going to be fun to watch for years to come.