What might be next for Eagles after taking OT Dillard in first round

Ed Kracz

Round One of the NFL Draft is in the books.

The Eagles did well moving up three spots in a trade with the Ravens to select offensive lineman Andre Dillard. The 6-4, 315-pound Washington State product figures to be Carson Wentz’s bodyguard at left tackle for the next decade once he learns some tricks of the trade from Hall of Famer Jason Peters.

Dillard probably doesn’t have the versatility to play guard – at least not yet – after Dillard said on a conference call in the early morning hours of Friday that he has only played left tackle is entire life except for one game when he played right tackle.

“Right now I see him coming in here and learning and getting – sort of hitting the ground running with our off-season program, with the rookie mini-camp coming up, getting in with (offensive line coach) Stout(land) and just feeling out the playbook and seeing where he's at and getting him caught up,” said head coach Doug Pederson. “That's our goal right now. That's our main focus. As we mentioned, when (Peters) is there, he gets to learn from one of the best. We're just excited to have him in the mix.”

So what’s next for the Eagles?

They have two picks tonight when the draft begins again at 7 p.m. with the second and third rounds. Both Eagles picks come in the second round, Nos. 53 and 57 overall.

My original mock draft had the Eagles taking Chris Lindstrom in the first round, the Boston College offensive lineman who went No. 14 overall to the Falcons. I had the position right – O line – just not the player.

My two second-round mock picks were defensive lineman Jerry Tillery and running back David Montgomery. Tillery is off the board after being picked by the San Diego Chargers late in the first round.

Defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones from Ohio State was my plan B selection and maybe he will be there and be the pick.

The positions could again be right, but maybe not the players.

The need to go early for a D tackle may have lessened with the Eagles deciding to bring back Tim Jernigan on a one-year deal.

“It's great to get Timmy back,” said executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman. “He just has great energy for our football team. Just looking at that defensive line room and that defensive tackle position, that's a strength of our team, and it's just a good fit for us and Timmy.”

The last time the Eagles went for a running back in the second round was 2009 when they selected LeSean McCoy. Since then, they have picked six runners, but none prior to the fourth round. The last one was Donnel Pumphrey, who was picked in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. Pumphrey was spent his rookie season on Injured Reserve then was released in his second year, though he was re-signed and placed on the practice squad last year. He has yet to play in an NFL regular-season game.

There should be several running backs to choose from when the Eagles are on the clock again. Only one was taken in the first round, and that was Alabama’s Josh Jacobs predictably going to the Oakland Raiders after Marshawn Lynch announced he was retiring.

Montgomery is one that could entice them, but also Memphis’ Darrell Henderson, Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill, Alabama’s Damien Harris, and Trayveon Williams of Texas A&M. Penn State’s Miles Sanders is a player the Eagles showed a lot of pre-draft interest in, but will likely be off the board by the time they pick.

There should also be a good crop of safeties available tonight. The Eagles could use to get younger at that position, though last year’s fourth-round pick Avonte Maddox could be viewed as a long-term answer there.

If the Eagles go that route they could go for Virginia’s Juan Thornhill, Florida’s Chauncey-Gardner Johnson or Iowa’s Amani Hooker. Maybe even Delaware’s Nasir Adderley or Washington’s Taylor Rapp are still on the board.Two were picked in the first round, with the Broncos taking Darnell Savage and the Raiders going with Johnathan Abram.

Maybe a wide receiver could be the selection. Two went in the first round – Marquise Brown to the Ravens and N’Keal Harry to the Patriots. Maybe Mississippi’s D.K. Metcalf or A.J. Brown are still available when the Eagles pick. Others that could still be around are Ohio State’s Parris Campbell, Iowa State’s Hakeem Butler, Georgia’s Mecole Hardman or South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel, to name a few.

After Friday night, the Eagles will only have two picks to make on Saturday after trading away one of their two fourths and a sixth to move up to select Dillard. Those picks will come in the fourth (No. 138) and fifth (163).