Eagles focus on bolstering trenches on day 2 of NFL Draft

After a great day one of the NFL Draft, trading up two spots and leap frogging the Giants to snag Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, day two felt much more like a traditional Howie Roseman draft.

At 37th overall, the Eagles selected Alabama guard/center Landon Dickerson — a great prospect based strictly on his talents, but with a long history of injuries. In the third round, Roseman decided to bolster his defensive line a bit, selecting Louisiana Tech’s Milton Williams, a versatile defensive lineman who can play both defensive end and tackle.

Let’s take a look at both selections and see how they’ll fit on this Eagles roster.

Landon Dickerson

If it wasn’t for Dickerson’s injury history, he would have been one of the first offensive lineman off the board in this year’s draft. But unfortunately, that injury history is very real.

He’s torn both of his ACLs during his college career — his right one in 2016, and his left one just last December. He appears to be on track to suit up for training camp, but it’s impossible not to be a little concerned on how the Eagles medical staff will handle him. Guys just seem to stay injured around this medical group.

Injuries aside, Dickerson has real pro bowl potential in the NFL. He’s an absolute mauler who has dominated some of the best interior defensive lineman in the SEC. Aside from Oregon’s Penei Sewell, Dickerson has the highest career run blocking grade in this year’s class, according to Pro Football Focus.

Dickerson has spent the majority of his collegiate career at center, be he should project as the team’s starting left guard to open the season if everyone remains healthy. He’s played every position along Bama’s offensive line during his career. That type of versatility is rare for offensive lineman.

He’s also a pancake machine, routinely throwing guys around regardless of their size. There’s never a dull moment when watching tape of Dickerson pull and find work down the field. He’s a mauler through and through.

His attitude and demeanor reminds me a bit of Lane Johnson. If he throws block like that while wearing midnight green, he’ll become a fan favorite very quickly.

The only real question on Dickerson is his health. If he stays healthy, he should be fixture along the Eagles offensive line for the next decade and a perennial pro bowl player.

Milton Williams

This pick was a bit surprising for me. I thought this was a prime spot to get your corner and help fill the biggest need on this team at the moment. But Roseman decided to add defensive lineman Milton Williams instead.

It’s not a bad pick by any means — Williams has some rare physical traits that are comparable to Aaron Donald. No really, his test numbers are nearly identical to Donald’s coming out of college.

While the pick was announced as a defensive end, I’d imagine he’ll primarily play along the interior. From day one he’ll be a situational pass rusher for the Eagles defense. Williams was one of the best pass rushing defensive tackles coming out this year.

His smaller stature is probably what caused him to fall all the way to the third round. Anything under 290 for a defensive tackle is considered “small” by NFL standards, and his short arms aren’t exactly ideal.

But his strength and pass rushing ability is evident whenever you put on the tape — his smaller size and short arms clearly didn’t affect him throughout his collegiate career.

Williams improved his game with each passing year during his time at Louisiana Tech. He won’t be forced to start right away with Fletcher Cox and Javan Hargrave already slotted in as starters, which gives him time to develop even further.

Despite not being a full-time starter, I expect Williams to make an impact as a situational pass rusher from day one.

Roseman didn’t pull off any “sexy” picks during day two of the NFL Draft, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who was expecting a corner on day two, but both Dickerson and Williams are great prospects who have great potential at the next level.

Roseman has always prioritized building through the trenches and I can’t say I disagree with that philosophy. If Dickerson can stay healthy and if Jonathan Gannon employs Williams in effective ways, both of these prospects should have nice careers here in Philly.

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