Jerry Tillery – DL, Notre Dame
I think Jerry Tillery will be available at the top of the second, but, for the Arizona Cardinals, picking him relies solely on who they go with the top pick. If it’s Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams count out Tillery at No. 33, but if it’s Kyler Murray this becomes a very real possibility.
Measuring in at 6-foot-6 and 295-pounds, Tillery is an ideal fit as a 3-4 defensive end in newly hired defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s defense. But he doesn’t just have the frame. He also has the athleticism, pass-rushing acumen, and tenacity to be a force at the position.
Tillery possesses the rare triple-threat combination of power, fluidity, and technique as a pass-rusher, which makes him a threat rushing the A, B, or C-gaps. In 2018 alone, Tillery tallied 8.0 sacks, 33 hurries, and seven quarterback hits, per Pro Football Focus. He also finished the year with an excellent 91.5 PFF grade and a 7.1 pass-rushing productivity score, which puts him fifth amongst defensive lineman in a stacked class at the position.
But, for as good as Tillery can be as an interior pass-rusher, he has some concerns that may drop him out of the first round altogether. He must improve as a run defender coupled with his litany of off the field incidents (including questioning his head coach) and noted aspirations outside of football are concerning.
However, ultimately, Tillery is one of the most impressive interior pass-rushers in the 2019 class. His size, style of play, and improved technique are all valuable in a league that just witnessed Aaron Donald pile on 20.5 sacks as an interior rusher. If there is a run on defensive linemen and Kyler Murray is the pick, don’t be surprised if the Cardinals go with a player that can start day-one in a revamped defense.
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