Jerry Tillery

Chargers Sign First-Round Pick Jerry Tillery

The Chargers have signed 2019 first-round draft choice Jerry Tillery, per a team announcement. In accordance with his slot, Tillery will receive a four-year, $11.4MM deal with a $6.3MM signing bonus.

The Bolts had just three defensive tackles on the roster going into the 2019 draft, so Tillery, a 6-6, 300-pound DT from Notre Dame, filled an obvious need. Plus, GM Tom Telesco said Tillery was the only player left on his board with a first-round grade by the time the Chargers were on the clock with the No. 28 overall pick (h/t Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com).

Los Angeles would continue to add front-seven talent in the draft after the Tillery selection, but Tillery’s ability to generate an interior pass rush is particularly appealing given that it could open up even more opportunities for Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Tillery did suffer a torn labrum in his shoulder during his final collegiate season, which ultimately required surgery, but he is still expected to be ready for training camp.

In his final year with the Fighting Irish, Tillery registered seven sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss. He also had a strong showing at the combine, including the best SPARQ score (a measurement of overall athleticism) of any defensive linemen.

With Tillery in the fold, only second-rounder Nasir Adderly and third-rounder Trey Pipkins remain unsigned from the Chargers’ 2019 draft class.

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Jerry Tillery Ahead Of Schedule

Good news for Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tillery. The potential first-round pick is ahead of schedule in his rehab from shoulder surgery, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. 

Tillery is expected to be ready to for all football activities by early July, which should help his draft stock heading into Thursday. The DT met with the Broncos, Chiefs, Eagles, Colts, and four other teams in the lead-up to the draft and any one of those clubs could consider him towards the end of the first round.

Analysts are high on Tillery’s potential and given the latest news, it would be a surprise if he lasted until the third round. The youngster offers upside as a defensive tackle in 4-3 schemes but can also fit as an end for 3-4 clubs.

In his final year with the Fighting Irish, Tillery registered seven sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss. It also helps that Tillery had a strong showing at the combine, including the best SPARQ score (a measurement of overall athleticism) of any defensive linemen.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Notes: Giants, QBs, Broncos, Tillery, Dolphins, Savage, Bryce Love

The Giants have been one of the most heavily scrutinized teams leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft. Many observers thought they were going to take a quarterback with the second overall pick, but they passed on signal-callers like Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Josh Rosen to take Saquon Barkley. After Eli Manning had another disappointing season, it seemed like his time as New York’s quarterback was coming to an end, and that the Giants would almost certainly take on early this year. Instead, the Giants have more or less doubled down. They’ve already declared Manning will be the starter in 2019, and they’re reportedly even open to him starting in 2020 and beyond. As the draft got closer, the idea of the Giants passing on a quarterback began to pick up more and more steam.

But now we’re finally getting some pushback on that, and momentum appears to be heading the other way with the draft less than a week away. “Several smart people around the NFL are convinced” the Giants will use the sixth overall pick on a passer, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network hears (Twitter link). We heard yesterday that the Giants are doing their homework on West Virginia quarterback Will Grier, who could be a target on Day 2. Overall, the Giants have done a pretty good job keeping us all in the dark about their intentions, and we won’t know for sure what they’re doing until draft day.

Here’s more draft buzz from around the league with just six days until the draft kicks off:

  • “One of Broncos final pre-draft visits was with Notre Dame DE Jerry Tillery,” a source told Mike Klis of Denver 9 News (Twitter link). Many analysts are very high on Tillery’s upside, and he’s currently projected by most to go sometime in the second round. Tillery played defensive tackle at Notre Dame, and could fit nicely as an end in Denver’s 3-4 defense. Last year with the Fighting Irish, Tillery had 8.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. With Von Miller and Bradley Chubb already in place, the Broncos would have a very talented pass-rush if they added someone like Tillery.
  • The “odds remain in favor of the Dolphins addressing their defensive line with their first-round choice,” writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. A lot of Dolphins fans have been hoping Miami would take a quarterback with the 13th pick, but the team appears set to punt on the position for now and take a bigger swing at it in 2020. The Dolphins appear set to roll with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter for the duration of the 2019 season, and as much as they want to deny it, are tanking.
  • Darnell Savage Jr., the Maryland safety, has been shooting up draft boards. Savage has had a meteoric rise, and could go as high as the late first round. He’s been busy recently, visiting with the “Cardinals, Bucs, Steelers, Colts, Seahawks, Lions, Titans, Falcons, Chargers, Rams, Patriots, Panthers, Browns, Eagles and Steelers,” according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link). Last season, Savage had 52 tackles, including 5.5 for a loss, and had four interceptions.
  • If he had left after his junior season, Stanford running back Bryce Love likely would’ve been an early draft pick. The 2017 Heisman runner-up opted to return to school for his senior year, and ended up tearing his ACL last season. Love’s stock took a hit, and it could be tumbling even further. Teams are very concerned that his knee, the same one where the ACL was torn, remains very stiff, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Love attended the combine’s recent medical re-check, and some teams are apparently concerned he might not get back to 100 percent. Pelissero does note that the stiffness is an issue that can be treated, and it could require another surgery. Here’s to hoping Love makes a full recovery.

 

Draft Notes: Packers, Dillard, White, Fins

Midway through a rather notable offseason, given the recent behind-the-curtain look at their previous power structure, the Packers are investigating some high-end quarterback prospects. They are obviously set at sports’ marquee position, but with Aaron Rodgers set to turn 36 by season’s end, Green Bay is at a similar point compared to when it last made a major quarterback investment. The Packers will host Drew Lock on a visit Tuesday, Terez Paylor of Yahoo.com reports (on Twitter). They also tried to set up a summit with Daniel Jones, but the parties’ schedules did not line up, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (via Twitter). The Packers took Rodgers when Brett Favre was 36 and sat him for three years. While Green Bay pulling the trigger on a passer would be rather surprising, especially given Rodgers’ contract status, the team does have two first-round picks this year.

Here is the latest from the draft world, staying on the subject of quarterbacks:

  • Lock will also meet with the Chargers, per Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com (on Twitter). Teams have ramped up their signal-caller-related preparation, in the event Kyler Murray does not go No. 1, according to Robinson, who notes some teams believe this year’s passers could slide a bit should Murray not be the Cardinals’ choice atop the draft. Some modest steam picked up on this notion earlier Monday.
  • The Dolphins, who already met with Jones, will head to the Duke campus to work out the former Blue Devil starter, Rapoport reports (on Twitter). Teams only have a few more days to host prospects on “30” visits but can still work them out after that deadline passes. Miami will also host Michigan linebacker Devin Bush and Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Devin White‘s stock has risen during the pre-draft process, to the point he may be the rare off-ball linebacker to be picked in the top five. One of the teams holding such a selection, the Raiders, brought in White for a visit, Rapoport tweets. The Buccaneers, who hold pick No. 5, have been closely connected to the LSU ‘backer. The Raiders have the No. 4 overall pick. Oakland, which also holds the Nos. 24 and 27 selections, will meet with tight end Noah Fant, on Monday as well, Rapoport tweets. The Raiders lost their starting tight end of the past two seasons, Jared Cook, in free agency.
  • For weeks, the Jets have been viewed as a team that would love to trade down. They are meeting with a prospect Tuesday that would support the fact this is a consideration. Ed Oliver will visit the Jets, per Schefter (on Twitter). While the defensive tackle is a surefire first-round talent, he has not been mocked as a player who would be a consideration at No. 3 overall.
  • The Titans are visiting with defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, per Rapoport (on Twitter). This is the Notre Dame-developed defender’s second known visit, the first having come with the Saints recently. Tillery remains in rehab after surgery to repair a torn shoulder labrum.
  • Not much has surfaced about which teams are researching an Andre Dillard pick. That has changed. The Washington State tackle prospect is visiting the Falcons on Monday and will meet with the Chargers later this week, Schefter tweets. Additionally, Schefter adds the first-round offensive line hopeful has already visited or worked out for a host of teams — the Giants, Jets, Dolphins, Ravens, Titans, Panthers, Vikings, Jaguars, Bills, Texans, Bengals, Packers, Redskins.

Draft Rumors: Bucs, Bills, DL, Saints, Harry

A fifth team emerged on Nick Bosa‘s pre-draft schedule. The Buccaneers will host the impact edge rusher prospect, according to Albert Breer of SI.com. Bosa will have dinner with Bucs representatives on Sunday night and stay in Tampa for a Monday visit. The Ohio State-honed defender met with the Cardinals and Giants last week and has 49ers and Raiders meetings on his agenda. But a Florida trip will follow. It appears next to impossible Bosa falls to the Bucs at No. 5, so the only way Tampa Bay likely would be in position to land him would be through a trade-up scenario.

Here is the latest from the draft, staying with the Bucs:

  • Having visited with LSU linebacker Devin White, the Bucs’ interest has appeared to have increased. The Bucs “love” White, Breer adds, and the off-ball ‘backer has been rumored to have climbed into potential top-five consideration. No non-rush linebacker has gone off the board in the top five since Aaron Curry 10 years ago. Tampa Bay saw Kwon Alexander defect to San Francisco, creating a need here. But No. 5 overall is quite the perch to take an off-ball linebacker.
  • A sixth team scheduled a Montez Sweat summit. The Bengals brought in the Mississippi State-developed defensive end on Monday night, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio tweets. He has already met with or is scheduled to visit the 49ers, Raiders, Bills, Packers and Bucs. Sweat blazed to a 4.41-second 40-yard dash at the Combine and seems likely to go off the board in the top 10.
  • Staying on the subject of draft-eligible ends, Jaylon Ferguson‘s extensive April tour of NFL cities continues. Among the teams on his reported 22-visit tour: the Bills, Giants, Colts, Eagles, Cowboys, Titans and Rams, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Ferguson met with the Bills on Monday; he will head southeast for his Giants powwow next. His visits with the Colts and Eagles are on tap for this week, with the Cowboys, Titans and Rams meetings are slated for next week. The Bucs and Bengals were already on the Louisiana Tech-produced pass rusher’s docket.
  • This year’s wide receiver hierarchy has not produced a clear-cut favorite, D.K. Metcalf‘s take-notice measurables notwithstanding. One of the top pass-catching prospects, N’Keal Harry, joined Ferguson in meeting with the Bills on Monday, Pelissero tweets. Upcoming for the Arizona State alum this week: visits with the Eagles, Patriots and Saints. Harry rates as the No. 4 receiver prospect — behind Marquise Brown, Metcalf and A.J. Brown — per NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah. Harry met with the Seahawks last week.
  • One of the second-tier defensive tackle prospects, Jerry Tillery remains in recovery from shoulder labrum surgery. But he traveled to New Orleans on Monday for a pre-draft Saints visit, Pelissero adds (via Twitter). The Notre Dame product is not expected to participate in OTAs but may be on track for training camp. The 6-foot-7, 305-pound prospect profiles as late-Day 1/early-Day 2 pick. By virtue of 2018 trades, the Saints hold just one pick in the first four rounds — No. 62 overall.
  • The Jets also parted with extensive draft capital in 2018, in order to land Sam Darnold. As a result, they continue to be mentioned as a team ready to trade down. Gang Green “badly” wants to trade out of the No. 3 slot, Breer notes. The Jets surrendered what became the No. 34 overall pick to the Colts last year, and the Mike Maccagnan-led front office wants to collect a second-round pick via trade.

Notre Dame DL Jerry Tillery Undergoes Surgery

Notre Dame defensive lineman and NFL draft prospect Jerry Tillery underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum and will be sidelined for three-to-four months, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Given his recovery timeline, Tillery should be ready for training camp, so it’s unclear just how much this news will affect his draft stock. Still, in a draft loaded with defensive line talent, it’s fair to wonder if Tillery’s operation will push him ever so slightly down draft boards.

Tillery, who stands 6’7″, 305 pounds, just wrapped up his Notre Dame career after appearing in 42 games during a four-year run. Last season, he posted seven sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss in 12 contests. Most draft rankings have Tillery as a borderline first-round pick, but his stock had been rising after an excellent combine. Notably, Tillery ranked first among draft-eligible defensive linemen in SPARQ score, a measurement of overall athleticism.

In his scouting report on Tillery, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compared the Notre Dame product to the Steelers’ Stephon Tuitt, noting the former’s “scary natural power.” Joe Marino of The Draft Network is also a fan of Tillery, but noted he must improve his leverage.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.