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Andre Dillard – Offensive Tackle

School: Washington State University

Class: Redshirt Senior

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 310 lbs

Andre Dillard NFL Draft Profile

Top 3 Player Traits

Pass Blocking

It is no secret that pass blocking is a must in Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense. Dillard fits the mold as well as anyone Leach has ever had. Playing Left Tackle, you want someone who can protect the QB at all costs, especially if they throw right handed. All season, Dillard protected Gardner Minshew, which led to the best season in Washington States history. Dillard does a tremendous job of creating a pocket for the passer. He then eliminates space for the pass rusher to get leverage and make a move. He keeps the defender in front of him.

Football IQ

This is an area many don’t consider with lineman, but it is very important. You know the play. You know where the ball needs to go. That is already a huge advantage. Sometimes the pass rusher makes the decision which way they are going before the snap and they go with it. Dillard recognizes this and when the play goes away from their move, he lets them. He fools them into thinking they made the right move when the play is actually going in another direction.

Technique

Dillard also has great strength to battle bull rushers that try to bully their way to the QB. Dillard’s ability with his footwork and hands allows him to stick with edge rushers so they do not have an open lane to his teammates. Look at this play from the Valero Alamo Bowl.

Dillard engages the defender quickly. While he gets a good push, Dillard is able to use his footwork to stay with him. It looks like the edge rusher is about to get to the QB, but he is able to use his good form to push the defender over, allowing Minshew to extend the play with his legs.

3 Player Traits in Need of Improvement

Run Blocking

While I would not say Dillard struggles in run blocking, I would say he might struggle in more traditional offenses. For instance, in short yardage situations, if a team were to run the I-Formation right at the 5 hole, the time getting the ball to the back is a lot different than out of the Gun. It might seem like a small thing, but more snaps and practice out of tighter formations will help with this area.

Defensive Play Recognition

Obviously, as you get to higher levels of football, defenses get more sophisticated. They try to fool lineman into picking the wrong pass rusher. I think that the learning curve can be difficult for any lineman. You are lining up against the best players in the world. So, working in the new sets and plays will need to improve if Dillard intends to be the starter that teams can rely on.

Strength

A few times Dillard was overpowered in the season. It did not happen often, but with the caliber of pass rushers he is likely to see, he will need to stand his ground in the trenches. Once he can truly pair his strength with his technique, he will show that he is one of the top tackles in the country.

Top 3 NFL Team Fits

Arizona Cardinals

If there is one thing we saw last year from the Cardinals is that there are a lot of areas of concern. With Kliff Kingsbury under the helm, he will want to protect Josh Rosen with his offensive scheme. A good offensive line is where it all starts and Andre Dillard would be a great fit for this pass-heavy offense.

Houston Texans

The Texans need an upgrade on the offensive line at every position. It would not surprise me the see Dillard head to Houston, TX to help protect franchise QB, Deshaun Watson. The offensive line really was the biggest part of the team’s offensive woes this season. While they did not have a bad season, it was clear that Watson needs better protection.

Cleveland Browns

Hey Baker! We know Joe Thomas retired recently and those are some pretty big shoes to fill, but Andre Dillard would step into that role very well. Dillard really understands the type of offense that Baker thrives in and would offer some top-notch protection while he is in the pocket.

Let us know where you think Andre Dillard will end up!

Sports Al Dente 2019

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