The Los Angeles Rams have had the same bookend tackles for the last four seasons, and both Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein are back in camp in 2021. There’s no reason to think that the Rams will need a tackle this season, especially with Joseph Noteboom back for another season as one of the NFL’s top backup offensive linemen.
But things will change soon for Sean McVay’s tackle situation and it’s possible that a recent first round pick will become available in the coming weeks. Or at least, by next year.
Whitworth turns 40 in December, Noteboom is a free agent in 2022, and Havenstein has just one more year remaining on his deal after this season. Without any recent draft picks that would make fans believe that LA has a long-term plan at the position, that’s where Eagles tackle Andre Dillard could eventually become an option. The 22nd overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Washington State, Dillard was a bit of a surprise for a team that already had Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, and a few holes on the roster bigger than offensive line help.
Dillard played in 16 games as a rookie, making four starts, and had mixed results. Then in 2020, he tore his biceps before the season and was placed on injured reserve. Dillard entered 2021 training camp with a battle against Jordan Mailata to become the starting left tackle and despite their dramatic differences as prospects (Mailata is part of the International Pathway Program and was not drafted), the early returns for Dillard have not been good.
Jordan Mailata was with the first team as the rotation and competition at left tackle continues. He just keeps on extending his lead over Andre Dillard.
Mailata had a tremendous block on Brandon Graham — he really finished it too — in the first set of team drills and then he sprung Boston Scott on a big run. Later in practice, Dillard was beaten by Josh Sweat for a sack and then missed reps with what might have been an injury.
During the OL-DL 1-on-1s, Mailata had a really nice rep against Derek Barnett and so did Dillard. But Dillard was also beaten by Milton Williams with a speed move inside. That’s notable because Williams is more of a DT, so if he beat him with a power move, that’s one thing. But he shouldn’t be beating Dillard with quickness, even if it’s set up by the threat of power.
There has been some thought that Dillard could become expendable by the end of training camp, just two years after he was a first round pick. The Rams would not be high on the waiver priority but for a team that’s looking for answers as to the future of their tackle position — including their own International player in Max Pircher — any option is something worth considering.
Would you entertain a move for Dillard?