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Andre Dillard selected No. 22 by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL Draft

He becomes the highest drafted player for the WSU Cougars since Marcus Trufant went No. 11 in 2003.

NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State Cougars left tackle Andre Dillard is officially a first-round pick: Dillard was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the No. 22 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on Thursday.

The Eagles must have really liked him: They traded up with the Baltimore Ravens to select him.

“This is a guy we had ranked as one of the top 10 players in the draft,” Eagles executive Howie Roseman said. “This was the best tackle in the draft.”

Dillard cemented his place in the first round with a dominant senior season. He was projected as a first round pick throughout the lead up to the NFL Draft, helping his cause with a solid performance at the NFL Scouting Combine and was projected as high as the No. 1 overall pick by some mock drafts.

Dillard attended the draft on Thursday, completing a long journey from signing day in 2014 to the first round of the NFL Draft. Dillard arrived in Pullman somewhat under the radar, coming out of high school as a 2-star prospect by Scout and Rivals and a 3-star prospect according to 24/7 Sports. He only held offers from Idaho, Portland State and Eastern Washington.

Part of that was because Dillard was a 240-pound offensive lineman who only began playing football shortly before high school. Once he got to Pullman, he didn’t take long to blossom into the stud he is now. Dillard redshirted his first year at WSU and only appeared in three games as a second-year freshman.

He was then thrust into the starting lineup at left tackle as a sophomore, and he never looked back. He went on to start 39 straight games, anchoring the Cougars’ offensive line. He finished his college career as a two-time All-Pac-12 selection and was voted to the third team of the AP All-American team as a senior.

Dillard certainly grew into his body, finishing his career at 310 pounds, while maintaining his athleticism. The combination of big, strong and athletic should fit just fine at the next level.

Dillard becomes the 11th Cougar selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, and the first since Deone Bucannon was picked in 2014. He is the third WSU offensive lineman drafted in the last four seasons, joining Cole Madison last year and Joe Dahl in 2016. Dillard replaced Dahl as the Cougars’ starting left tackle.