Dillard has the tools, but does he have the polish to be a starter in 2019?
Much of the talk around the New York Giants draft will be finding answers for center, right guard, and right tackle. After a turbulent 2018, they are locked in at left tackle and have a long-term answer at left guard. The rest of the line, however remains unsettled and in need of better play.
Complicating matters is a league-wide shortage of viable starting offensive linemen. It is nothing new — as the college ranks have progressed away from “pro style” systems, it is getting harder and harder for teams to find prospects who can start soon, or who have starter upside at all.
That leads teams to looking for players who might have the upside to be starters but have some issues which their coaches believe they can correct.
That leads us to Andre Dillard of Washington State. Dillard is rising up draft boards and has intriguing tools, but comes with issues that teams will have to decide whether or not they can fix.
Height: 6-foot 5
Weight: 310 pound
- Prototypical frame with long arms and balanced thickness in upper and lower body.
- Uses hands well. Keep them up and ready throughout the rep and doesn’t hesitate to use his hands to create space.
- Shows the ability to re-anchor against power and absorb bull-rushes.
- Hand usage lets him deal with a variety of rush moves.
- Red-shirt senior with three years of starting experience in a pass-heavy offense.
- Good lateral agility to mirror defenders at the line of scrimmage.
- Kick-slide is virtually nonexistent.
- Something of an unknown as a run blocker.
- Speed off the edge can compromise his feet.
- Air Raid offense rarely (if every) had him in a three-point stance.
(Dillard is left tackle, number 60)
What They’re Saying
“Left tackle Andre Dillard received a few early-round grades from league scouts, an opinion I don’t agree with.
Dillard is quick off the snap, blocks with a wide base and flashes ability in pass protection. Technically sound with his hands, Dillard is a terrific position blocker who seals opponents from the action.
Inconsistency is the reason I grade the senior offensive lineman as a sixth-round prospect.
Dillard is an average run blocker who does not show next-level footwork and also gets pushed back into the pocket. I am not of the opinion he can play left tackle at the next level and feel he’s better as a reserve lineman on the right side or perhaps inside at guard.”
– Tony Pauline (The Draft Analyst – pre-season scouting report)
Does He Fit The Giants?
Dillard presents an interesting conundrum for NFL decision makers. He has pretty much the full set of tools that teams want to see from offensive tackle prospects, and extensive experience as a pass protector.
He uses his hands, rarely seems flustered, and is a good athlete for an offensive lineman. However, he will need time to develop in an NFL system at that NFL level. He was never in a three-point stance and Washington State only ran the ball sparingly. More importantly, Dillard only used a kick-slide on a handful of plays that I have seen. And while his choppy shuffle back into a pass set kept him parallel to the line of scrimmage and able to absorb rushes — though he rarely stopped them cold — any semblance of speed off the edge left his feet crossed and lunging after the rusher.
His mirror ability, as well as his movement at the second level and as a blocker on screens, suggest that he has plenty of athleticism to be able to kick-slide. Learning to do so will fix many of the holes in his game and be necessary for him to have a future in the NFL. Of course doing so will require un-learning his bad habits before building proper technique.
As a run blocker, he will likely fit best in a zone-heavy scheme. Washington State didn’t run the ball all that much, but Dillard’s athleticism suggests that he would be better in a scheme which is predicated on getting the defense flowing, rather than trying to over-power it.
He has the tools to be an NFL offensive tackle. However, he would do best as if he lands in a position where he could develop before earning a starting job. As it stands now, the Giants need help on their offensive line soonest. Whether or not the Giants have the ability to let a player develop could change by the draft, but the team might not have the ability to use what could be a high pick on a player who might need significant development.