Tackle #3: Andre Dillard
Remember the adage that Brian Gaine and Bill O’Brien keep hammering into our heads in regard to the type of players they want? Well let me remind you, they want players who are “stronger, longer and faster.” These were some of first words uttered out of Gaine’s mouth in his introductory press conference last season and they’re sticking to the script as he goes into his second off season of building up this team.
Andre Dillard is definitely that guy they’re talking about.
It’s important to mention that the 6-foot-4, 310-pound tackle with 34-inch arms and 9.63-inch hands can run the 40-yard dash in 5.10 seconds. For a man of that much girth and strength, that’s actually quite impressive which would pay huge dividends for this team.
I’d certainly want to try my hand at either Ford or Williams as I previously mentioned but I think Dillard would be the solid insert to this offensive line as I think his quickness and athleticism are second to none and those aforementioned traits will help this team’s offense evolve hopefully into a unstoppable machine. I keep waiting for the season when that unit will be able to do that but if the right pieces are added, we may finally see some improvement in the offense’s production as a whole.
Campbell writes that Dillard is “adept at heading off speed rushers and keeping them from getting turned to the quarterback.” This certainly means that he could serve as the proverbial “speed brake” for the Texans and help Watson become that much stronger in making the big plays for this team without sacrificing his body. He has reputation of protecting QB’s blind sides which has certainly been a problem for the OL for quite some time.
PFF had Dillard ranked 6th among tackles with his pass-blocking efficiency (98.9) and saw a considerable amount of pressure on the outside, taking 106.9 snaps which was ranked 12th among tackles.
He’s above-average in just about every metric you can think of with the exception of him not having innate ability to avoid negative run blocks, which could be same said of Williams.
His overall grade was an extremely solid 85.1 through 985 snaps. He only accrued four penalties and allowed one sack in 677 pass attempts within his courageous senior campaign with the Cougars. He also was named to All-Pac-12 first team roster after his notable performance and
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ranked third among tackles via PFF.
"“Talented four-year starter at left tackle with outstanding feet who offers an instant athletic upgrade for teams getting battered from the blind-side. Because of his scheme, Dillard will be a little behind in terms of his feel for set points and firing off the ball in the run game. While he could play with a little more ferocity as a finisher, he has the athletic ability to make all the blocks and the protection talent to become a good, early starter on the left side.”"
He also notes that Dillard has high character and is intelligent which are definitely important attributes to consider when the Houston Texans pick players to be a part of their organization, especially the character part.
Although Dillard would not be my first choice by any means, I think he’d be a nice upgrade on the left side, especially if things don’t necessarily work out with Julién Davenport, to which things are starting to trend in that direction. I certainly hope that Davenport proves us wrong though because he has so much potential to be great in this league.
But if the Texans were to bring Dillard into the fold — and he’d probably be available even early in the second round — I’d still applaud them for the move so let’s certainly hope that happens if Ford or Williams are not available.
So there you have it — here are my three tackles that the Houston Texans should target in this season’s draft. Do you agree? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.
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