Over the next four weeks, we’ll be counting down the 20 most important Eagles for the 2020 season.
20: Nate Sudfeld
19. Avonte Maddox
18. Nathan Gerry
17. Dallas Goedert
16. Derek Barnett
15. Jalen Reagor
14. Jalen Mills
13. Brandon Brooks
12. Rodney McLeod
11. Javon Hargrave
10. Miles Sanders
9. Andre Dillard
Jason Peters is still a free agent but all indications are that Andre Dillard is going to be the Eagles’ starting left tackle in 2020.
Those are some big shoes to fill.
Peters is a future Hall of Famer who made seven of his nine Pro Bowls as a member of the Eagles. And even though his last Pro Bowl came in 2016, he was still playing at a pretty high level last season. It might not have seemed like it because of the bar Peters set earlier during his Eagles career, but he was still a good left tackle in 2019.
But the Eagles traded up in the first round last year to take Dillard so it’s time to get younger and let him sink or swim. There’s a reason Dillard was a consensus first-round pick last April.
Dillard, 24, had an up-and-down rookie season. His ill-advised start at right tackle was an abject disaster, but he was much better during his three starts at left tackle as he filled in for Peters. He wasn’t great but there were positive signs. And, after all, the Eagles drafted him to pay left tackle.
One of the best bits of news Eagles fans received this offseason came from Brandon Brooks’ appearance on Quick Slants when he said Dillard is up to 335 pounds. When he revealed that number, I thought Barrett’s eyes were gonna pop out of his head.
That weight gain is so significant because it was so necessary. Dillard came into the league at 315 pounds and he was up to 320 by season’s end. After the season, he seemed proud that he had changed the composition of his body but admitted there was more work to do. He went into the offseason with the goal of adding more muscle and then he put on 15 pounds.
It became evident watching Dillard last year that he needed more weight to better anchor. Pass rushers were beating him with bull rushes too often in 2019.
The good news was that Dillard already had the athleticism and other physical tools. So the hope is the added weight was the last thing he needed to become a quality starter.
Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast:
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.