Never one to sit on his hands in the draft, Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman did what he always seems to do in the NFL Draft. He made a trade to climb the draft board three spots, from where the Eagles selected Washington State offensive lineman Andre Dillard in the first round on Thursday night.
Dillard is 6-5, 315 pounds.
This is the scouting report on him from NFL analyst Lance Zierlein:
“Talented four-year starter at left tackle with outstanding feet who offers an instant athletic upgrade for teams getting battered from the blind-side. Because of his scheme, Dillard will be a little behind in terms of his feel for set points and firing off the ball in the run game. While he could play with a little more ferocity as a finisher, he has the athletic ability to make all the blocks and the protection talent to become a good, early starter on the left side.”
The Eagles moved from the 25th pick to No. 22, swapping picks with the Baltimore Ravens and giving them a fourth round pick (No. 127 overall) and a sixth round pick (197).
“It was important to us that we protect those two second round picks,” said Roseman, who has now made 27 draft weeknd trades in the last nine year. “When we had the opportunity to go up, and it’s a lot, two players with a fourth and a sixth, but it’s also an opportunity to get a top 10 player on our board.”
Yes, a top 10 player.
That is where the Eagles had Dillard slotted.
“This is a guy we had ranked as one of the top 10 players in the draft,” said Roseman. “We didn’t anticipate the opportunity to go up and get him when the day started. Really excited.
“For us, it’s always about taking the best player. We went into free agency to try to address a lot of needs so we could be in position (Thursday night) and the rest of the weekend to take the best players. This is certainly not a need position. We have a Hall of Fame tackle and again he’s got a great opportunity to learn from Jason (Peters) and at some point in time getting an opportunity to play.”
Roseman’s move up three spots put them ahead of the Houston Texans, who picked a spot ahead of Philly and the Eagles knew Houston was probably going to draft a lineman, and they did, choosing Alabama State’s Tytus Howard.
“It’s hard to find offensive linemen,” said Roseman. “It’s hard to find guys with great feet, big bodies, great hands, it’s hard to find these guys. They don’t grow on trees. There’s very few people in the world – it’s the big men theory – there are very few big men with that kind of feet. It’s just unusual to get him.
“We like our offensive line depth. We liked it before today, we liked the guys we had on our team, it’s just an area we want to continue to invest in and be strong in and keep developing guys because you need it. Over the course of a season we’ve seen it, we need the depth.”
The Eagles still have two picks in the second round, which begins Friday night at 7 p.m. they are pick Nos. 53 and 57. They do not have a third-round pick then will have just two picks on Saturday – one in the fourth round and one in the fifth.
Of course, with Roseman, you never know if he will look for more.
He didn’t exepct to trade up when the day began.
“When we look at how drafts go and our evaluation this was the best tackle in the draft,” he said. “Usually those guys go in the top 10 and that’s how we had him rated. When he started to fall, we saw an opportunity to get a top 10 player. Again, when you have a top 10 player at an important position, it doesn’t matter about the depth on our team. We are trying to load up on the lines.
“He’s got great feet and a really really smooth pass protector, long arms, big hands, great character. You can see a lot of things we do offensively. At the same time he also has room to grow. He hasn’t hit his ceiling.”