Philadelphia Eagles: Andre Dillard is definitely getting traded… right?

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

If Andre Dillard had his way, he likely would have been traded by the Philadelphia Eagles last year.

No offense to the team that drafted him in the first round back in 2019, I’m sure the pride of Washington State likes cheesesteaks and soft pretzels as much as the next guy, but once Jordan Mailata came into his own in 2020 and won the starting left tackle spot in camp – earning a massive extension in the process – the writing was on the wall: Dillard’s days with the Eagles were numbered.

While he did draw some trade interest in 2021, and I’m sure there are more than a few teams in the NFL who would be happy to have the 6-foot-5, 315-pound pass-blocking specialist protect their quarterback’s blindside for years to come, here we are, on the eve of the 2022 NFL Draft and Dillard remains a member of the Eagles with no obvious rumors linking him elsewhere.

Will that change over the next four days? Maybe so, but it all depends on how the Philadelphia Eagles feel about their offensive line moving forward and what sort of value they can fetch from their former first-round pick.

The draft will decide the future of Andre Dillard and the Philadelphia Eagles.

As things presently stand, the Philadelphia Eagles have pretty decent depth across their offensive line.

Assuming no one is cut, signed, or, ya know, traded away, Jeff Stoutland’s squad will feature Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson at tackle, Landon Dickerson and Isaac Seumalo at guard, and Philly’s favorite adoptive son, Jason Kelce, manning the middle of the field. Behind them, the Eagles currently have Andre Dillard as their primary backup left tackle, Jack Driscoll as a hybrid guard/tackle on the right side, and Nate Herbig as their primary multi-hyphenate interior reserve, with Jack Anderson, Sua Otepa, Brett Toth, and Kayode Awosika filling out the depth chart.

All-in-all, not too shabby; throw in a late Day 3 draftee like Illinois’ Doug Kramer, and that is a totally acceptable collection of offensive linemen worth going into battle with. But without Dillard locked in as a veteran reserve at left tackle, well, things could get ugly in a hurry if Mailata ever has to leave the field for one reason or another.

So, if the Eagles were to move off of Dillard for a draft pick – rumor has it a “quality Day 2 pick” was the asking price last year – Howie Roseman would need to secure a similarly athletic left tackle who can provide serviceable snaps behind Mailata if need be. Fortunately, there are a few good options in the middle of the 2022 NFL Draft who could replace Dillard without creating a new controversy behind Mailata, players like Arizona State’s Kellen Diesch, Southern Utah’s Braxton Jones, and Tulsa’s Chris Paul a little later on, who all ran sub-5.0 40s and fit the team’s zone-blocking scheme.

If one of those players is sitting pretty in the third round and a tackle-needy team – the New Orleans Saints? – call up the Birds offering their third-round pick for Dillard, Roseman may be willing to exchange a more field-ready tackle nearing the end of his rookie contract for a rawer prospect on a fresh four-year deal for a tenth of the now-fully guaranteed fifth-year option owed to a player selected outside of the top-10.

If the value is right and a ton of athletic, zone-blocking left tackles don’t fly off the board much earlier in the draft than most folks expect, don’t be surprised if Dillard is checking for a new place to live by Sunday afternoon.

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Is there a world where Andre Dillard is still on the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster on May 1st, June 1st, July 1st, and even September 1st? You bet; backup left tackles are incredibly valuable, and having a high-end reserve could save a season, as Nick Foles and even Jordan Mailata can attest. But for everyone’s sake, let’s hope the stars align and Dillard once again gets a chance to compete for starting role elsewhere, as that path appears to be closed for the foreseeable future in South Philly.