The training camp battle for the starting left tackle position was one of the main talking points surrounding the Eagles heading into the year. Former first round pick Andre Dillard and 2020 breakout star Jordan Mailata have been splitting snaps with the first team offense through a week and some change of practices.
By nearly all accounts, Mailata has been the clear front runner to win the job. He was the favorite heading into camp, but there was always the chance of Dillard surprising everyone and cementing his status as the left tackle moving forward. According to most reports out of camp so far, Dillard has failed to give Mailata a true battle at the position.
Here’s a snippet from Reuben Frank’s observations after Monday’s practice:
OK, I know it’s only four days without pads, but I’ve seen enough. No way Andre Dillard is winning the left tackle job. OK, it’s possible Dillard will bounce back from his slow start, and maybe once the pads go on starting Tuesday morning he’ll acquit himself better. Some guys get the competitive juice going when padded practices begin. But I’m just not seeing it. It’s only a few days, but Mailata has really taken ownership of this competition. He’s just better than Dillard. And it’s not even that close.
He’s hardly the only Eagles beat writer who shares this same sentiment.
Take a look for yourself:
With Dillard seemingly destined to be a backup for the Eagles, it’s time for the front office to start fielding offers for the former first round pick. If they pass on the opportunity to cash in on Dillard now, they may be stuck with an asset who’s value will increasingly decrease.
As an Eagle, Dillard would be a fine depth piece behind Mailata, but his lack of versatility hinders how much value he truly brings to this offensive line. With Landon Dickerson now in the fold, the Eagles have their do-it-all lineman they can utilize across the entire line when needed.
Looking strictly at the left tackle position, the team still has a few names they could slot in as the true backup there when/if Dillard is dealt. Brett Toth played sparingly last season in Philly, and Casey Tucker bounced around practice squads last season before ending up with the Eagles this offseason.
If the team wanted to get creative, they could give Matt Pryor a try at left tackle. Pryor briefly practiced at left tackle after the Dillard injury last season, but was quickly moved to guard after Jason Peters agreed to move to his natural position at LT. Pryor started 10 games last season, at right guard as well as at right tackle.
The Eagles are at an inflection point with Dillard. He can either ride the bench and be a backup, or the team can shop the former first rounder and get some value back for him while they can. If they wait any longer, his value will only continue to go down.