Instant analysis: Eagles trade up to take an offensive lineman in first-round of NFL Draft

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It wasn’t flashy, it wasn’t sexy, but it may just be the smartest decision the Eagles have made all offseason. The Eagles leap-frogged Houston without giving up either of their second-round picks, instead passing on their own first-round pick, a fourth rounder, and a sixth. With this, they jumped to 22nd overall in order to draft Washington State tackle Andre Dillard. Here’s all you need to know.

It wasn’t flashy, it wasn’t sexy, but it may just be the smartest decision the Eagles have made all offseason. The Eagles leap-frogged Baltimore without giving up either of their second-round picks, jumping to 22nd overall in order to draft Washington State tackle Andre Dillard. Here’s all you need to know.

The first ten picks of the NFL Draft were a total rollercoaster. Nobody…and I mean nobody, could’ve predicted Clelin Ferrell going 4th overall, Daniel Jones going 6th and Dwayne Haskins falling to the Redskins much later. But all this did was push some of the Eagles’ top-rated prospects deep into their laps.

The method behind the madness is simple. Jason Peters won’t be around forever. Whether it’s one year, two years, or somehow even more, the Eagles will need to find an heir to the Throne. Even if the Eagles opted to move Vaitai up to a starting role, there’s a glaring lack of depth behind Big V and a franchise right tackle in Lane Johnson who battled injury last year. It’s not a sexy pick, but the Eagles built this team through the trenches and they will sustain success the same way.

The big thing here is the dip in talent between what the Eagles have in Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and developmental prospect Jordan Mailata. Nobody really knows when Mailata will be ready to play an NFL game and in the event both tackles are unlikely to play, it’s a steep drop. It’s one the Eagles were very wise to fill.

Dillard comes in at 6’5, 306 lbs, but lacks the desired length in his frame. Although there are some clear fundamental setbacks in terms of his hand placement etc as of right now, he plays hard and is extremely athletic for his size and weight which is something Stoutland would covet. He’s a very raw prospect who gets bullied by bull-rushes and doesn’t have much to counter sheer power, but his athleticism could be invaluable. He wouldn’t be expected to start straight away and I think this could be a real blessing for an Eagles team who are looking to nurture their left tackle of the future, giving Stoutland time to groom this talented lineman.

There were plenty of enticing names available, with Hollywood Brown being among them…but the point remains that this team has spent years building this fortress on both sides of the ball. Sustaining that level of dominance up-front will not only be key to keeping Carson Wentz upright, but it gives the Eagles long-term serenity that the top pass-blocking tackle in this draft is waiting in the wings.

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