The big noise out of Nashville tonight had nothing to do with Philadelphia…and that’s probably for the best. Because under-the-radar, subtly, the Eagles traded up a few spots in the first round of the NFL Draft to take this year’s best pass-protector and future heir to the left tackle throne, Andre Dillard.
Here’s what Howie Roseman, Joe Douglas, and Doug Pederson had to say:
On the opportunity to draft Dillard:
HR: “Hey guys. Real excited to get Andre Dillard to Philadelphia. This is a guy that we had ranked as one of the top 10 players in the draft. Didn’t anticipate the opportunity to go up and get him when the day started. Really excited. It’s a great tribute to our scouting staff, our front office staff and our coaching staff.
HR:”..our evaluation was this was the best tackle in the draft, and so usually those guys go in the top 10. “
On the rollercoaster first round:
HR: “Total anarchy. [Laughs] You know, I think for us, it was important to us that we protect those two second-round picks and that we protect those picks yesterday. I’m fortunate to have one big guy sitting on my left and one big guy sitting on my right, and when I come up with crazy ideas they kind of give me this look. When we had the opportunity to go up, and it’s a lot – there’s two players there with a fourth [round pick] and a sixth [round pick], but it’s also an opportunity to get a top 10 player on your board.”
On the cost:
HR: When we had the opportunity to go up, and it’s a lot – there’s two players there with a fourth [round pick] and a sixth [round pick], but it’s also an opportunity to get a top 10 player on your board.
On the plan out of the gate:
DP: “Right now I see him coming in here and learning and getting – sort of hitting the ground running with our off-season program, with the rookie mini-camp coming up, getting in with [offensive line coach] Stout[land] and just feeling out the playbook and seeing where he’s at and getting him caught up. That’s our goal right now. That’s our main focus. As we mentioned, when [Jason Peters] is there, he gets to learn from one of the best. We’re just excited to have him in the mix.”
Another Senior Bowl serenade:
JD: “Yeah, well, actually our senior director of college scouting, Anthony Patch, he lives pretty close to Washington State. He did a great job, and our [west coast] area scout, Ryan Myers – those two guys did a phenomenal job of going in there and getting to know Andre. [Philadelphia Inquirer reporter] Zach [Berman], [The Athletic reporter] Bo [Wulf], [Philadelphia Daily News reporter] Les [Bowen], you guys were at the Senior Bowl, you got to see him perform that week down in Mobile. We were very comfortable. We got a chance to spend a lot of time with Andre in our Senior Bowl interview. He had a great week, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him.”
On run blocking concerns due to scheme at Washington State:
DP: “You know, it’s something that, again, as we get him in here and get him going, yeah, they did throw the ball a lot at Washington State, and that’s a credit to what they did, and that’s why he’s a good pass protector. We pride ourselves in running the ball here, and he’s going to come in and learn, and that’s the thing.”
“It’s why Jeff Stoutland is here. He’s a great teacher and he’s a great fundamentalist, and he’s going to work on every aspect of every one of our players’ games up front. And so, I have no hesitation that he’s going to be a good run blocker for us.”
Age is just a number:
HR: “I think that’s part of our evaluation process. We look at age as a factor. But when you look at this guy and his ceiling and when you look at that a lot of times, I think some of the things that we have learned, I know I’ve learned personally is has a guy hit his ceiling when he’s 23 or 24 years old? Or does he still have room in his body to grow? And I think we all agreed, it was unanimous, that this guy hasn’t even come close to hitting his ceiling. Just talking to these guys and our staff about what we can do for him, especially in the run game, and talk about explosive power, but you also see it on tape. I don’t think it’s fair to say that this guy isn’t good in the run game. We’re just really excited right now about this, but at the same time, we have to go back upstairs, we have to see what’s going on, we have a lot of work to do the next couple days.”
On the report that the Eagles had a deal in place to jump to 13th overall and select Christian Wilkins
HR: “I can’t comment on that. I don’t know anything about that report, no. The trade we had was the trade we made. I didn’t see that.”