The Blindside: Andre Dillard continues dominant 2021 season
While there have been several concerns regarding the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line the last several weeks, none have been about left tackle Andre Dillard. When Dillard took over for Jordan Mailata against the Cowboys, he had an impressive showing that has carried through to this Sunday.
Over Andre Dillard’s three starts this season, the Eagles have had 160 passing attempts. Over those 160 plays, Dillard has only allowed seven pressures and not a single sack. Dillard has stood strong against several solid edge rushers and been a perfect blindside blocker for Jalen Hurts. This level of play is incredible, and he is starting to show his first-round value in 2021.
Penalties have been the most significant knock against Dillard this season, committing six penalties over his starts. However, most of those have been illegal man downfield calls which is Jalen Hurts’ fault for not getting the RPOs out quicker. Nick Sirianni and Jeff Stoutland want Andre Dillard downfield because the ball is supposed to be thrown or handed off before Dillard gets there. Any criticism of Dillard based on these calls is simply not true. There have been some holding calls, but again, nothing too egregious.
Another significant criticism throughout Dillard’s career has been his run-blocking ability. Although it is far from perfect, his performance in the trenches has improved. According to PFF, he has an average grade over his three starts of 61.7 when run-blocking, which is okay.
The athleticism is there, and Andre Dillard will only improve as he gets more starting reps and builds upon his good showings. Based on Nick Sirianni’s comments, Lane Johnson could miss significant time, so Dillard could be the starter for a good while. At this point, a deadline move seems doubtful. Based on what happens with Lane and how Mailata does at right tackle, Dillard could make a legitimate push to be the left tackle of the future for Philadelphia.
This possibility is purely hypothetical because of the lack of information surrounding Lane Johnson. Hopefully, whatever is going on will be okay, and Johnson should absolutely take as much time as he needs. If Lane Johnson returns, Andre Dillard is still the odd man out, but he has shown to be a starting left tackle in the NFL.
If Dillard’s current performance continues, there’s a good chance the Eagles could get a very lucrative return for him. The biggest issue is the longevity of his contract, which could hinder what the Eagles could get in return. Only one season remains on his rookie contract, but the Eagles or whoever acquires him can pick up Dillard’s 5th-year option for 2023.
In the meantime, let’s hope Andre Dillard continues this ongoing performance and can continue to prove that he belongs on the NFL for the next several years.
Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated