Injuries have become par for the course when it comes to the Philadelphia Eagles, but that doesn’t make losing a future Hall of Famer any easier to deal with. Eagles Left Tackle Jason Peters sustained a knee injury in Sunday’s loss to the Vikings and is currently labeled as ‘week-to-week’. But, every cloud has a silver lining…and that lining comes from Washington State.
The Eagles’ first-round draft choice, Andre Dillard, will be the man getting the start in place of Peters when the Birds’ fly to Dallas for a crucial divisional matchup this Sunday. It won’t be his first taste of NFL experience, but it will be his first start.
After a strong preseason, Dillard would sprinkle into the Eagles offense sporadically through the opening few weeks, until their week 6 matchup against the Vikings. The 6’5, 315 lbs, mauler would line up against premier pass-rusher Everson Griffen in what rapidly became a trial by fire. Despite a few shaky moments however, Dillard left a good impression on Mike Groh.
“I think Andre did a good job stepping in, playing against a really good football player.” The Eagles offensive coordinator said. “He had some good plays and he had some plays I think that he’ll learn from as a rookie player. We had some of the same conversations early on about [RB] Miles [Sanders].
You’ve seen him grow as a player each and every week, so I think the more he plays the more he’ll grow.”
It’s easy to see why Dillard left the Eagles coaching staff purring at the Senior Bowl, way before his name was called. But when you factor in his 39 starts at left tackle for Washington State, the 1 sack allowed on close to 700 pass blocking snaps last year, and his 4.96 40-yard dash time, it’s hard not to raise an eyebrow.
Dillard will get his first NFL start against Robert Quinn, who has five sacks already this season. The road won’t get much easier when the Eagles travel to Chicago. The Mountain is a tall one to climb, and it was made very clear early on that Dillard is a lineman with an incredibly high ceiling. The question is, how close is he to reaching it?
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports