One of the more intriguing battles this offseason will be the one at left tackle. The world was able to see what the organization has in Jordan Mailata last year after Andre Dillard injured his bicep during training camp.
With a new coaching staff trying to construct the best possible starting lineup, it’ll be interesting to see which of the two wins the battle. Dillard is a former first-round pick that the team traded up for while Jordan Mailata was a project 7th round pick that put the sports world on notice last year. Let’s take a look at who may have the advantage ahead of Training Camp.
Jordan Mailata played a total of 733 offensive snaps during the 2020 season with 502 of them being pass-blocking snaps. Out of those, the Aussie allowed a total of 32 pressures. He was graded as a top 15 tackle by PFF from week 11 and on. While he did allow 7 sacks last year, he only allowed a sack after every 71st snap. He averaged giving up pressure on every 16th.
As for Andre Dillard, we have to go back to his rookie year for a sample size. Dillard surrendered 25 total pressures on 183 pass-blocking snaps in 2019, according to PFF. Dillard also gave up QB pressure once in every seven snaps, giving the edge to Mailata.
Dillard played a total of 304 snaps during his rookie season with 183 of them being pass-blocking snaps and allowed 6.5 sacks that season. A half sack less than Mailata’s total but in almost a quarter of the snaps.
According to PFF, Andre Dillard also surrendered 25 total pressures on those 183 pass-blocking snaps during his rookie season. That’s an average of one pressure for every seven pass-blocking snaps. Which is twice as less than Mailata’s one pressure for every sixteen snaps.
Attitude and Will
If you’ve watched Jason Peters throughout the years then you’ve noticed how he carried himself. He prides himself on just how great he was while always making sure the world took notice of it. During his prime, there was never a moment where you doubted his abilities on the field or his mental toughness off the field. That’s what made the bodyguard so great.
Jordan Mailata isn’t the silent and deadly type but he is willing to do whatever it takes to put his team in the best position to win. Mailata stood tall against some of the better pass rushers of the league last year. He even went after an opposing player for laying a hit on Carson Wentz and would often be seen picking his quarterback and running backs up after they get knocked down. That’s the guy you want in your corner when things go sour.
Dillard raised plenty of questions about his mental toughness during his rookie season. A good example would be the moment when he was asked to play the right tackle.
To no surprise, he went on to have the worst game of his career at that position. While I understand just how hard it could be for a left tackle to switch to the right side, my issue is the fact that he publicly threw in the towel before the game had even started.
This to me is a big difference between both players. Mailata recently stated that if he lost the battle that it wouldn’t bother him as much, that he’d be more than willing to play any other position of the team needed him to. In this culture of competition that Nick Sirianni is trying to create, Dillard will have to follow through on his recent change of heart if he is going to keep up.
One of the main concerns coming out of college for Dillard was his ability to run block. During his rookie season, Dillard didn’t look too bad in this aspect but his lack of power is hardly a well kept secret. At times he would allow defenders to bully him due to this. Dillard mentioned recently that he feels a lot stronger this offseason and a great sense of confidence within himself.
As for Jordan Mailata, you could tell that run blocking was one of his favorite things to do. How couldn’t it be for a former rugby player? Mailata showed great push off of the line but at times he led too much with his weight which allowed defenders to get past a little easier.
Heading into what could potentially be his second full season, this is a part of his game that he needs to master if he is to make that next level jump at the position. He can’t allow defends to use his own momentum against him too often.
The tale of the tape
If there’s one thing that’s for sure in football is that the tape never lies and it didn’t in either of these players. Both have big question marks heading into this season but both also have a very high ceiling going forward. Dillard is a premium talent that came at a premium cost while Mailata is growing to be a very well-developed talent that cost less than gum back in the ’90s.
Mailata does have the edge of having more recent experience and shining within that sample size. However, Dillard was a first-round pick and that may trigger an unnecessary burden on Sirianni’s shoulders. The better player should win, not the player who the team invested the most in and feel obliged to play.
In my opinion, the Eagles are better off keeping Mailata left tackle. It’d be wise to consider Andre Dillard at left guard since he’s so young and to have both players guarding the left side would be a huge benefit.
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