The plan was for Andre Dillard to replace longtime Philadelphia Eagles star Jason Peters as the team’s left tackle in 2020, but it turns out Dillard won’t even get one game to step into Peters’ shoes. After multiple reports indicated Dillard left Thursday’s training camp practice with a biceps injury, it now appears the former first-round draft pick is done for the year. As first reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, tests have confirmed Dillard will require surgery for his injury and thus likely miss the entire 2020 season.
The 24-year-old lineman tore his bicep during practice, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and had reportedly already been battling a shoulder strain, sitting out recent camp sessions.
The news marks the second significant blow to the Eagles’ starting offensive line of this offseason, as Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks previously suffered a torn Achilles in June. More importantly, it stunts the expected progression of Dillard as the club’s left tackle of the future. Drafted 22nd overall in 2019, the Washington State product practiced as the exclusive first-team blind-side blocker to open camp, signifying that he had truly been entrusted with the job long held by Peters, 38, who primarily re-signed with the Eagles this summer to convert to right guard, Brooks’ position.
Now, as Garafolo noted, Peters is all but a sure bet to shift back to his natural position of left tackle, which he manned for Philadelphia from 2009-19. The perennial Pro Bowler is far more of a proven starter than Dillard, and some might argue his presence protecting quarterback Carson Wentz’s blind side is a safer bet for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. Still, there’s a reason the Eagles allowed Peters to test free agency — and then linger on the market — earlier this offseason; the franchise legend has missed 12 games over the last three seasons and has also struggled to finish starts in recent years.
With Peters expected to return to left tackle and Dillard likely headed for injured reserve, third-year reserve Matt Pryor is likely to fill in at right guard.