The Packers Signing of Andre Dillard Doesn’t Change Their Need at Offensive Tackle

The Green Bay Packers signed free agent offensive tackle Andre Dillard on Thursday, giving the team some more depth at a premium position that needed reinforcements. But what it doesn’t do is change the team’s overall need for more talent and depth at tackle.

Dillard has talent. The former Washington State star was a first-round pick of the Eagles back in 2019. He was the 22nd overall pick in that draft and Dillard has the athletic ability that GM Brian Gutekunst looks for in an offensive lineman. He stands 6’5” and weighs 315 pounds and ran a 4.96 40-yard dash at the combine before he was drafted.

But Dillard never fully developed that talent in the NFL. He has started only 19 games total in four seasons in the NFL with 10 of those coming last season with the Tennessee Titans.

Dillard missed the entire 2020 season with torn biceps. Since then, the Eagles declined to pick up his fifth-year option. He signed a lucrative, three-year, $29 million contract with Tennessee, but they let him go after just one season.

In 12 games with the Titans, Dillard allowed 12 sacks, more than any other tackle graded by Pro Football Focus. He was benched twice but returned to the lineup when injuries struck along the offensive line and the Titans needed him to step in.

Dillard’s pass blocking grade from PFF was worse than Royce Newman’s and only slightly better than Sean Rhyan’s. He was in the bottom 10 among the 81 graded pass protectors in the NFL according to PFF.

His run blocking grade was a bit better which leaves him below average in that department.

Offensive line coach Luke Butkus will have to work with Dillard on his technique if he hopes to resurrect his career. He’s never lived up to his billing as a first round pick in the NFL.

What Dillard gives the Packers is an experienced backup who may be able to fill in for a game or two if there is an injury to one of their starters along the offensive line. At best, he’s a swing tackle and insurance policy but barring a big turnaround in his play, he is not a long-term answer to the Packers needs at tackle.

Before they signed Dillard, the team had no experienced backup tackles without moving starting left guard Elgton Jenkins to the outside. The other depth tackles on the roster right now are Luke Tenuta, Kadeem Telfort, and Caleb Jones. Jones has played in one NFL game and played one special teams snap. Tenuta played in three games in 2022 and played a total of 25 snaps while Telfort has yet to take a snap in an NFL regular season contest.

The Packers may have an even bigger need at tackle if they move Zach Tom to center. This was discussed as a possibility during the offseason. That would mean the team would have just one starting caliber tackle on their roster and would need to add another to the mix.

If Dillard plays well this summer, he can make the team and give the Packers some depth. If not, the Packers can easily walk away from his contract and move on.

The 2024 NFL Draft has depth at offensive tackle and the Packers have a need there. Gutekunst may not select a tackle in the first round, but it remains a possibility depending on how the board falls. With five picks in the top 100, it is likely the Pack adds at least one tackle in those five selections. They may add another player in the later rounds of the draft.

Overall, Dillard is a player who can provide depth and with the right coaching, may even be a serviceable swing tackle. But unless he shows marked improvement over his past performances in the NFL, he will not move the needle much when it comes to the Packers overall need at the tackle position.

 

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4 points
 

Comments (20)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
NickPerry's picture

April 20, 2024 at 12:10 pm

Dillard’s pass blocking grade from PFF was worse than Royce Newman’s and only slightly better than Sean Rhyan’s. He was in the bottom 10 among the 81 graded pass protectors in the NFL according to PFF."

WOW...I never realized Sean Rhyans pass blocking was THAT bad. Dillard's was worse than Royce Newman huh? You're right Gil...Adding Dillard doesn't change the NEED of OT in the draft. Hey, I hope Butkus and Steno can work some magic with Dillard but after allowing 12 sacks in 12 games for the Titans last season I'm not so sure David Copperfield could even help this dude.

Five more days until the Draft... Can't wait!!

5 points
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ricky's picture

April 20, 2024 at 10:51 pm

Copperfield could make him disappear. Which seems to be the likely outcome, anyway.

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TKWorldWide's picture

April 21, 2024 at 10:34 am

Heck, if Dillard’s grades are that bad, you could argue his presence INCREASES the need at OT.

3 points
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Since'61's picture

April 20, 2024 at 12:18 pm

Bettet to draft at least 2 OLs and use Dillard as camp fodder. Rookies come in with no baggage and probably a higher ceiling than Dillard. If Dillard surprises and earns a roster spot that will be fine but he brings some heavy baggage from his 4 previous NFL seasons. The Packers should not lose focus on selecting OLs who can add effective depth to the OL. Thanks, Since '61

10 points
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SpikeHyzer's picture

April 20, 2024 at 04:13 pm

His ceiling is actually enormous. He posted one of the best RAS ever at his position.
The problem is that his floor thus far has been sub basement level 5.
Pack is great at development at OL. Maybe he's a gem that just needs polishing, as a lot of his struggles relate to injury.
It might actually really shift their thinking in the draft.

-2 points
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Oppy's picture

April 21, 2024 at 10:53 am

Dillard is definitely a camp body.

The Packers lost Bakhtiari, that's one OL down, and a veteran OL at that.
Dillard is a body to plug into camp.

What Dillard provides the Packers is a look at a guy that, despite his poor performance as a pro so far, was a 1st round pick and probably was on their board back then. He is athletic. They get to kick the tires, so to speak. But I don't think they intend to find a high-quality OL.

My best guess is the Packers see Dillard as a body to take snaps in camp, potentially looking to see if his athleticism at his size can be leveraged on special teams units, and lastly, but perhaps most importantly, he's a veteran lineman and one would assume the fact that he's still in the league despite his struggles would suggest he knows how to be a professional and carry himself as such.

The OL group is young. It never hurts to have a vet who carries a lunch pail to work. It shows the young guys how you go about the business of football as a pro.

-1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

April 20, 2024 at 12:22 pm

Look at the players we have on the offensive line. In two years, every single guy...everyone....will be a FA or, in the case of Jenkins, will cost so much we can't retain him any more. This is the Jordan Love window, and if we don't take strong steps, we aren't going to have a strong line during that window. I can't state this any more simply. Nothing gets done on offense if people don't get blocked, and right now we don't have any premium talent in development on that offensive line.

I don't think Dillard, Jones,and Newman are the answers.

6 points
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Coldworld's picture

April 20, 2024 at 02:19 pm

I don’t know what Jones or Tenuta are. I’m pretty confident that Newman and Dillard are not answers I believe in.

2 points
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SpikeHyzer's picture

April 20, 2024 at 04:16 pm

I think it matters less with Love. He not only gets the ball out quickly in the context of this offense, but he's mobile and can escape pressure to either run or throw pretty well under pressure.
It's not nearly the need people believe, as evidenced by an attempt to revive the career of a high RAS guy for development that was mostly stunted by injuries and a long term absence. He's their real first pick at OL to develop.

They won't draft that many now and more of them will come much later in the draft.
It may also signal Tom to center and a trade of Myers.

-3 points
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Leatherhead's picture

April 21, 2024 at 04:15 pm

Spike, having a mobile QB who gets rid of the ball is great, but nothing good happens on offense unless people get blocked.

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splitpea1's picture

April 20, 2024 at 01:08 pm

Here are the dangers of being overly impressed by combine numbers (Dillard's were excellent) and moving up in the first round (the Eagles moved up three spots, trading away a fourth and sixth round pick in the process).

The other Washington State tackle who was drafted the previous year? Cole Madison.

Dillard is a project depth piece/camp body. The numbers cited aren't very encouraging, but the Packers apparently thought he was worth a flyer and maybe he gives Gute a tiny amount of flexibility when it comes to draft maneuvering.

4 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

April 20, 2024 at 03:21 pm

Packers did the same exact thing, taking Savage one pick before Dillard in that draft. He was considered a 3rd rounder before the combine.

The S I liked in that draft, Nassir Adderley, had one good year in four and retired already. The only real advantage he would have been was he went a full round later and they could have saved the two 4th rounders used to move up for Savage.

2 points
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MitchAnthony's picture

April 20, 2024 at 07:28 pm

Hopefully a very low cost dice roll on someone who never really met expectations. I wouldn't expect magic to be worked on someone who hasn't had magic worked on them in Philly, where they also have very good O line coaching, and elsewhere. I would expect that if he hangs around he only needs to be a kinda sorta sorta kinda good enough once in a while rotation piece (with a once impressive RAS). Anything beyond that is bonus.

Maybe, just maybe, he does realize this is his last best chance to stay in the NFL and really puts in the work and effort needed. As far as how this impacts draft strategy. Not much at all.

1 points
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stockholder's picture

April 21, 2024 at 06:10 am

You guys are too scared.
The Hanson experiment is over.
Rodgers is gone.
And Gute can change anything with money.
So why draft, what won't play?
Everybody is overthinking the OL.
The question should be -
What guy could Gute draft; that will start!
Future Need is not pick #1.
It's how you keep Losing.
No super-Bowl will be in our sight.
Until the back 7 is fixed.

-2 points
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Oppy's picture

April 21, 2024 at 10:57 am

For a guy who seems to like to think of himself as a Ted Thompson kinda guy, you sure do spit out a lot of thoughts that are entirely antithetical to TT's philosophies.

2 points
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stockholder's picture

April 21, 2024 at 12:01 pm

The Cap troubles and Free Agency has changed
TT's philosophies.

0 points
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Oppy's picture

April 21, 2024 at 01:31 pm

Ted Thompson always operated as a GM in the free agency era. There have been exactly zero major changes in the way free agency operates since Ted Thompson had been a GM. So, that's just you clouding the waters.

The "cap troubles" faced by the Packers at the current time (which, as of 2024, are barely any 'cap troubles' at all- most have been sorted out since trading Rodgers away and cutting away to aging vet contracts) are no different right now than they were when Ted Thompson took the reigns from Mike Sherman. The team under Sherman had matured and was past its shelf life. Too many long-term vets making too much money because of a reluctance to rebuild for the future. Ted pruned it all away and the team was rejuvinated with a youthful roster. Front loaded contracts were put in place for long-term cap health. This is essentially what Gutekunst has been doing since Rodgers was shipped out. Once we stopped bending over for Rodgers' demands that we keep his 'good ol boys' club of aging vets around (which had to be done through short-sighted cap tricks that leveraged the future cap for the immediate short-term retention of players), we've been restocking the coffers with talent and paying them with front loaded contracts and signing bonuses that make it possible to either extend or release them as they mature without pigeon holing the team into making roster decisions based on dead cap hit potential rather than talent.

Ultimately, I was referring to your comments about skimping on OL and drafting long-term potential vs. drafting for immediate need and players who can 'start immediately'.

1 points
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gsd3's picture

April 21, 2024 at 11:36 am

I see tackle depth as a need. Walker's trajectory is pointing up. He graded out in his first season starting significantly higher than he did in college. Walker will be fine. The interior is where a huge upgrade is needed. Contrary to popular belief, Rhyan did not "split" time with Runyan. He was given time to see how he would do against live competition. He didn't do well. If he takes strides, great. Hope he does. But it will have to be through competition.

1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

April 21, 2024 at 04:17 pm

You know, Walker and Tom will be FAs at the same time. And Rhyan. And Watson and Doubs. We should absolutely be getting people prepared to replace them if we can't resign everybody.

1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

April 21, 2024 at 05:21 pm

That's SOP Leatherhead. The windows are far beyond next Thursday...

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