Picture this; you have Chandler Jones, Terrell Suggs, Jordan Hicks, Corey Peters, and now Nick Bosa leading the way up front. Looks great right? Yes, that front seven is significantly better than last years, but there could be some more power up-front. That’s where 6-6, 295-pound Jerry Tillery comes into play.
Tillery is an ideal fit as a defensive end in Vance Joseph’s attacking 3-4 defense. He has the frame, athletisism, and pass rushing ability to be productive in the NFL from the get-go. He possesses the rare combination of both power and fluidity as a pass-rusher, which makes him a threat rushing the A, B, or C-gaps. In ’18 alone, Tillery has 8.0 sacks, 33 hurries, and seven quarterback hits, per Pro Football Focus.
The Notre Dame product projects as an excellent 3-4 pass-rushing end in the NFL and is a top talent. But, he’s got some major question marks that could drop him out of the top 50 both on and off the field. On the field, he’s somewhat inconsistent and doesn’t have the burst to wow linemen off their feet. Off the field, his red-flags include a litany of off the field incidents (including questioning his head coach) and has noted aspirations outside of football.
However, if Tillery is available at the top of the third, I don’t see Steve Keim taking a pass on him. The Cardinals could certainly use some added power to the defensive line, and Keim hasn’t been opposed to taking talented flight-risks in the past. Tillery fits the bill as a talented defensive lineman with some risk involved. Sounds like a Keim pick to me.