Photo credit: mynorthwest.com
For the 1st time ever, a pair of offensive tackles from the two Pac-12 colleges in the state of Washington were taken in the 1st round of the NFL draft. The Philadelphia Eagles took former WSU Cougar Andre Dillard with the 22nd pick and the Atlanta Falcons took former Husky Kaleb McGary with the 31st pick.
The 6’5, 315lb Andre Dillard was a left tackle in the Air Raid offense of Mike Leach and will be looked to as protection for Carson Wentz’s blindside. The Eagles traded up 3 spots to snag Dillard, letting go of 3 draft picks to do so.
“This wasn’t what we had anticipated. Our evaluation was this was the best tackle in the draft,” Eagles personnel boss Howie Roseman said. “Usually, those guys go in the top 10. That’s how we had it rated. When he started to fall, we saw an opportunity to get a top-10 player at an important position.”
The kid from Woodinville started 39 games for WSU and joins a team just 2 years removed from the Super Bowl. The 2x All Pac-12 honoree was also selected to the Sports Illustrated and AP All American teams He will fight for a spot alongside 3 pro bowl offensive linemen in Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, and Jason Kelce.
At 6’7, 315lbs and hailing from Fife, WA, Kaleb McGary will head to the NFC South to play for the Falcons. The former Husky won the Morris Trophy in 2018 (best Pac-12 lineman) and was named 1st team All-Pac 12 in 2017 and 2018.
Similar to the Eagles, the Falcons traded up to get offensive line help that they desperately need. The Falcons came into the offseason with offensive line issues and pairing McGary and their #14 pick Chris Lindstrom helps them envision solid line play for years to come.
“Got through a lot of adversity in his life,” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said of McGary. “He’s a nasty finisher when you study him on tape. He’s a little raw in pass blocking. He’s very physical. They found something they wanted there with that physicality and toughness.”