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Eagles Youngster Competing for Starting Job: ‘Bring It All On’


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Eagles Youngster Competing for Starting Job: ‘Bring It All On’

  • Updated Jun 4, 2021 at 11:04am
Andre Dillard

Getty:  Former first-round pick Andre Dillard is returning from a season-ending biceps injury in 2021.

When Andre Dillard tore his biceps muscle nearly 10 months ago, there was a feeling of there goes another wasted draft pick. The 2019 first-rounder struggled in four starts during his rookie year, then missed the entire 2020 campaign.

Jordan Mailata — the Australian rugby star turned NFL player — eventually assumed Dillard’s post at left tackle last year and proved he could handle the pressure. The 346-pounder allowed 32 total quarterback pressures but was a top-15 tackle from Week 11 to Week 17 (via Pro Football Focus). Interestingly enough, pressure is a word that seemed to bother Dillard on and off the field prior to his season-ending injury.

But the third-year left tackle out of Washington State found peace in the offseason by ditching his social media accounts and reading self-help books. He also attacked the weight room, improved his diet, and changed his sleeping patterns. Dillard declared that he’s a "completely different person” heading into training camp. He’s 100% recovered from the biceps injury.


"I definitely learned a lot about myself and how much the game really means to me and how serious I am about this,” Dillard told reporters on Thursday. "Losing a season to an injury definitely makes you see it in a different perspective and in a different light. It kind of lit this huge fire in me, a different kind of fire than I felt before because something like this [injury] has never happened to me.”

Dillard was drafted 22nd overall to be Philly’s left tackle of the future, the heir apparent to Jason Peters. Well, "The Bodyguard” is no longer on the roster and Dillard now faces the gargantuan task of unseating Mailata. It will be an open competition for the starting job — every position will be contested, including quarterback — and the 25-year-old embraces the challenge.

"Oh, I welcome all competition, I never shy away from it,” Dillard said. "I’m glad that it’s happening, and it makes sense that it’s happening. You know, Jordan came in and filled in last year, he played most of the season and he did really well so it only makes sense for the coaches to give it a little competition.”


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