2019 #28 Los Angeles Chargers – Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
NFL Draft Scout
OUTLOOK: It isn't often that Notre Dame is able to lure players out of SEC territory but Tillery is hardly your typical defensive lineman. His unique blend of size, athleticism and power make Tillery an unusual case from purely a football perspective and his journey from Shreveport to South Bend is filled with plenty of other twists that make him one of the more interesting personalities in the 2019 NFL draft, as well. Tillery signed with Notre Dame as a highly touted prep and saw action immediately, playing in all 12 games as a true freshman and earning three starts. His numbers jumped from 12 overall tackles in 2015 to 37 (including 3.5 for loss) as a sophomore. He enjoyed a breakout junior campaign in which he set career-highs in tackles (56), tackles for loss (nine) while also leading the Irish in both QB hurries (11) and sacks (4.5). Tillery's numbers were not quite as impressive as a senior with opponents often dedicating multiple blockers to him but he still finished with 28 stops, including 8.5 for loss and a personal best seven sacks, including four against rival Stanford - a program well known for his pro-style offense and history of producing quality blockers. For this, he earned Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week honors following the Irish's 38-17 win over the then-7th ranked Cardinal. From his size, talent and medical to his unique interests away from the game, Tillery is one of the more fascinating prospects of the 2019 NFL Draft. His length, strength and new-found maturity suggest that he'd fit best as a two-gap, block-eating base defensive end at the next level with proven disruptive ability inside, as well. That position and schematic versatility could earn Tillery a top 32 selection.