Anatomy of the Draft Night Andre Dillard Trade
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - You heard quite a few names linked with the Philadelphia Eagles leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft but Andre Dillard wasn't one of him.
At No. 25 few draft observers bothered to think about the former Washington State star, regarded as the best pure pass protector, in the draft would be available for Philadelphia to consider and the Eagles themselves didn't even bother to invite Dillard to South Philadelphia for one of their top-30 visits.
The thinking was sound.
Many mock drafts had Dillard off the board in the top 15, almost all had him gone by 20, and nearly everyone correctly assumed his floor was No. 23 to offensive line-needy Houston, two spots before the Eagles were scheduled to go at 25. More so, offensive tackle is a valued position in the modern NFL and good ones usually get pushed up the board not down it.
According to NFL sources Philadelphia's plan heading into Thursday night had Mississippi State defensive talent Jeffery Simmons, a top-10 talent set to stumble a bit due to a torn ACL, as well as Oklahoma playmaker Marquise Brown as the potential targets.
When Simmons was snatched by Tennessee at No. 19 the Eagles adjusted their thinking and Dillard was still on the board. The whispers before the draft were that Philadelphia would have to get past Baltimore at No. 22 if they really wanted Brown and Roseman acknowledged that was the goal. The object of that goal had changed, however, and it was Dillard so the Ravens were no longer the problem, the Texans were.
"To be honest, we were trying to go up ahead of Baltimore," Roseman said after trading two Saturday picks, a fourth-round selection (No. 127 overall) and a sixth (No. 197) to the Ravens to jump up three spots. "We just couldn't come to an agreement. It just kind of worked out that way. Obviously, we knew, or we thought that [Houston] was a spot that probably there was a chance that they were going to take an offensive tackle, which they did, and we just had to go by our board, and that was a top guy on our board. Certainly, we thought if we didn't get to Baltimore’s spot there was a chance we'd lose the player, and I think all of us really wanted to make sure we got the player."
The Ravens were also satisfied when they got the object of their desire, Brown at No. 25 overall, leaving Houston forced to reach for raw Alabama State prospect Tytue Howard at No. 23 after the Eagles plucked Dillard from its back pocket.
“I’m not going to disclose any kind of trade decisions that we’ve had," a disappointed Texans GM Brian Gaine said when discussing Dillard vs. Howard. "Both talented guys. From a physical profile on both players, they both fit the bill in terms of what we would look for at the position. Andre Dillard – talented player. Tytus (Howard), equally talented, but they are also – from the intangible profile and the football character profile – both were very strong in those categories. Both good players, deserving of where they went on the draft board.”
Although not an immediate need with future Hall of Fame left tackle Jason Peters back for the 2019 season, Dillard leaps the ultra-raw Jordan Mailata as the heir apparent and may put 2017-18 swing tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai on the trade market if the Eagles are intent on regaining a third-day pick.
"It’s just a huge honor to be on the same team as a great veteran player like [Jason Peters]," Dillard said. "I’m looking forward to competing with him, getting better with him and learning a lot from him and everybody else there."
In the Eagles' mind, today's luxury is tomorrow's necessity.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen