LEFT Tackle Andre Dillard! Let me just say that love the pick. Now that you’re no longer in suspense, let me do a little housekeeping. I’m doing something a little different this year. Instead of issuing multiple article covering each day, I’m just going to update this article daily. For those who see links to this through social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), you will see this same article re-posted, but there will be new content on it.
NOW BACK TO THE DRAFT!
I didn’t do much homework on him initially because from all early indications, both Dillard and OT Jawan Taylor would be off the board by 17, 18 at the latest. There was no way we’d have a shot a top LT at 25. Just no way. So I didn’t do much leg work on them. (As it was, I barely got my Wish List out on time, this year.)
Then we got to 22 and both players were still on the board. By the time the Draft started I no longer wanted a DT, since we re-signed DT Timmy Jernigan earlier in the day. So it didn’t sting in the least when DT Christian Wilkins went to Miami (which is where I thought he’d go, and so I hoped we’d trade with.) I had no idea what we’d do at 25.
What we did was trade up to 22, trading our 1st (25), one of two picks in the 4th (127), and our 6th (198). At which we took forever before pulling the trigger on a guy who looks to be a better option than OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, already.
Round 1 (22 overall): LT Andre Dillard.
At about 16 seconds into this video, Dillard steps forward into pass protection, instead of kick sliding backward. Then he does it again at 1:15. Then again at 3:03. And at 3:20. And 4:36. Then once more at 5:29. Keep in mind, these are on pure passing plays. By pure, I mean passing plays which employ no element of play-action.
He won’t be able to do that in the NFL, but when I saw it, I was IMMEDIATELY in love with the pick. (More on that in a sec.) He can get back quickly and deep. In fact (best example) at 3:47, but most of this video shows that his base technique is a shallow step back. So he’ll need a little time to make that slide feel second nature. But that could come as soon as mid-season, so don’t expect this to become a project.
The knock on him is that he isn’t a big-time run blocker, and it’s true. He really he isn’t. At least right now. He comes out high, which exposes too much of his chest. Against a smart defender, that can cause him to be used to trap his RB behind the line, stringing out a run, and giving time for the cavalry to get there. That will get fixed just by the way that O-Line coach Jeff Stoutland runs the drills segment of camp.
That’s not to say that Dillard has poor instincts for the run. Quite the opposite. He understands where he has to be relative to the runner’s emergence point. In fact, (best example) at 5:06, you see him make two blocks, and create an alley for a rushing touchdown. He has the eyes and the instincts. He just needs to play in a grown-up offensive system.
A bit ago I said I fell in love, at about 16 second into this video. Really it was more like I started falling after 54 seconds, when I saw that the first step-up block wasn’t a fluke, (but this play included play-action.) However, by 1:15 (pure pass), he had me. He reminded me a little of another kick-ass LT that NEVER allowed a single sack in three years. He reminded me, of me. And that’s not a compliment that I just hand out.
With the cues I see in his game from this video and other videos (those were based on his QB), I think he’ll do great things, not just good things, at the LT position.
Round 2 (53 overall): RB Miles Sanders
Not a bad pick, but not a great one either. My guess is that he’s here to be an upgrade over RB Wendell Smallwood. Similar in body type, but with more speed and better feel for creating in traffic. There’s also no history of him being a reliable receiver.
Generally I like to get video of a player going against a tough opponent. I figure, a tough college opponent will show who a player is, when faced with a challenge. Initially, I went with Penn vs Michigan, but Sanders came up small, and seemed like he didn’t know some of his blocking assignments. So I went with a video vs a lesser opponent, to get an idea of his NFL upside.
If he gets a crack, he can hurt a defense.
Round 2 (57 overall): WR Jose Joaquin “J.J.” Arcega-Whiteside
Jump ball winner. Sort of an Alshon Jeffery-lite, in that even if he’s covered, he’s still open because he’ll win a contested ball. There’s a lot of “arm waving business” early in his routes that cuts into how fast he REALLY get into the route. That’s a shame, because at times he does a nice job with his feet to stem his routes. Fortunately that’s something that coaching may be able to clean up by the end of Training Camp.
Between recent draft picks Mack Hollins and Arcega-Whiteside, and the rumors of moving WR Nelson Agholor, it seems like the Eagles are winding up for a big WR corps, when the contracts of Jeffery and DeSean Jackson expire.
Speaking of Arcega-Whiteside, he needs a nickname. From us! JAW comes to mind, but Ron Jaworski is already Jaws for us, and Jaws II seems weak. A&W is cute and could have a root beer tie at the stadium, if the fans drive it hard enough. Just some thoughts.
4th round (138 overall): DE Shareef Miller
Miller went few picks earlier that I had pegged him on my Wish List, but he’s not a bad pick in this spot. Not only is it nice to see a Wish Lister in here, but I have to love the fact that he’s a Philadelphia native. Here’s what I said about him in the Wish List:
Miller (6’4″ 254) does a solid job of playing “the run first” on every down. He sets and wins the edge, but doesn’t do a good job of exploiting it when he wins it. Too often he runs himself out of plays, or doesn’t bend inside when he has the Tackle on his heels. These are things that can be fixed quickly with coaching, and should have been already. (Then again PSU’s coaching staff is now infamous for letting some things go on too long.) Given that Chris Long‘s game is also “set the edge–play the run–rush the passer” Miller could be just the rotational player to fill Long’s (on-field) role.
5th Round (167 overall): QB Clayton Thorson
He is CLAYTON! Son of Thor ! Just kidding.
I’ll be damned, but watching this kid move around in the pocket, pick up short yardage and scramble, all reminded me of Carson Wentz. (Go back and check the tape.) He doesn’t have Wentz’s willingness to stick the ball in tight spaces, but that might have more to do with not having the faith, that his skill guys have the skill to make the plays.
That won’t be a problem in Philadelphia. We have all kinds of firepower here. In fact, the question is whether he’ll be able to sit in the saddle and ride such a powerful beast (our Offense). There’s a chance that it could overwhelm the young lad, as he’s never sat so tall, upon such an impressive monster as this.
If he does impress in camp, the fact are Nate Sudfeld was a 6th round pick, not the Eagles draft pick, and only has 25 NFL attempts, with no starts, and no wins on his resume. If Thorson shows some hunger, he might be able to challenge for best view of the name on Wentz’s jersey. At which point having a guy who plays like Wentz will be a heck of an insurance policy against injury.
Shit just got real.
All in all, it was a really good Draft. We had a LT, RB, and WR all fall to us. Grabbed a DE to replenish a loss that may or may not happen, and grabbed a QB who will either sharpen our current, competent back-up, or supplant him. All of those are good things.
Now to grab some Free Agents!