OCTOBER 15: After two weeks of practice, Dillard is ready to go. The Eagles activated the former first-round pick from IR. Dillard is expected to serve as Philadelphia’s swing tackle against Dallas. The fourth-year blocker played that role last season. Mailata, who missed Week 5, is expected to return to his left tackle post Sunday.
OCTOBER 5: The Eagles remained unbeaten despite losing their starting left tackle — Jordan Mailata — to a shoulder injury in Week 4. Mailata is not a lock to play Sunday, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (on Twitter), but the team could have its top backup available.
Philadelphia opened the practice window for Andre Dillard on Wednesday. Dillard, who is going into his fourth season with the team, now has 21 days to be activated. Should the Eagles not activate Dillard by that point, he will miss the 2022 season. Teams can activate up to eight players off their respective injured lists this season.
Dillard went down with a broken forearm just before the season; the former first-round pick underwent surgery in early September but has been deemed ready to practice. It will be interesting to see if the Eagles see enough from their one-time blindside heir apparent to activate him ahead of their Week 5 game against the Cardinals.
Philly used 2020 fourth-round pick Jack Driscoll to replace Mailata against Jacksonville, but Dillard has been the team’s top backup tackle for a bit now. The Eagles traded up to draft Dillard in 2019, viewing the Washington State prospect as the successor to Jason Peters. Dillard’s injury trouble led to Mailata commandeering that left tackle gig, and the team passed on Dillard’s fifth-year option in May. But the Eagles have resisted trade overtures toward the young blocker. He could be back on the Eagles’ 53-man roster soon.
The Eagles have Mailata locked up long-term; the rugby convert joins Lane Johnson and Landon Dickerson as O-line starters signed beyond 2022. Dillard, who started nine games at both left and right tackle during the 2019 and ’21 seasons, could move into position as an intriguing free agent next year. For this season, however, the injury-prone tackle represents higher-end insurance for a Super Bowl contender.