Andre Dillard got a taste of what it's like to line up for a significant time at left tackle in last week's game in Minnesota after he took over for the injured Jason Peters in the second quarter. Dillard took what he learned from that experience as he worked with the first-team offense all week in practice ahead of his first career start Sunday night in Dallas.
"I'm very ready. I prepare every week as if I'm going to play, so I'm just doing that again this week in case whatever happens, happens," Dillard said in front of his locker on Friday as he unwrapped tape from his wrists.
Peters is "week to week," head coach Doug Pederson said, with a knee injury, so the All-Pro transitioned into a mentor role to help the first-round pick navigate through some of the challenges that he'll face.
"He's been a great teacher, mentor, big brother figure for me since I got here," Dillard said of Peters. "I've learned so much as a player just from being around him, talking to him all the time, picking his brain here and there. Just a lot of useful things that I've learned as a player and as a person."
The Eagles picked Dillard 22nd overall, hoping that the rookie could watch the future Hall of Fame tackle protect quarterback Carson Wentz's blind side. In the preseason, Dillard showed the potential to be a plug-and-play prospect if needed. Leading up to each regular-season game, Dillard has rotated in during practices to give Peters a breather, so he wasn't caught off guard in Minnesota. Dillard thought that his spacial awareness and quickness were pretty good, but there were also plenty of things to clean up.
"It was a really good experience to get the feet wet, get a feel for the competition of the game," Dillard said.
Dillard saw plenty of Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen last Sunday. In Dallas, Dillard will square off primarily against Robert Quinn, who leads the Cowboys with five sacks on the year.
"He's a very good player. He's been in the league a while," Dillard said. "He's very fast and very disciplined. It'll be very fun to go against someone like him."