Philadelphia Eagles 2019 NFL Draft watch: DT Jerry Tillery
We’re talking about a deep defensive line class in the 2019 NFL Draft, but Jerry Tillery clearly has the attention of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s April. The 2019 NFL Draft will be here before you know it, and any casual fan has probably already figured out the importance of winning in the trenches in professional football over the past few seasons. Die-hard NFL fans, especially those who cheer for the Philadelphia Eagles, have known that for a while. WalterFootball.com ranks former Notre Dame standout Jerry Tillery as the seventh-best defensive tackle in this year’s class.
Recently, Fran Duffy did a great job of breaking down a skill set that’s gotten the attention of several NFL teams.
Take a look:
Clip courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles official YouTube channel
Tillery’s final season as a member of the Fighting Irish produced 28 total tackles (17 were solo), seven sacks and two forced fumbles. That gave him 133 tackles (70 of the solo variety), 12.5 sacks and three forced fumbles for his 42-game career.
As Philly’s starting defensive tackle tandem, Fletcher Cox and newly acquired Malik Jackson, approach 30 years of age, the plan of the Eagles will, no doubt, be to try and extend the NFL lives of both of them. That means finding someone who can fit into the rotation.
NFL.com sees Tillery as a prospect with the potential to become a starter. One of their most trusted NFL analysts, Lance Zierlein, compares him to Stephon Tuitt. He also had this to say:
"Tillery is a projection-based prospect with first-class traits and dominant potential, but he’s still searching for more consistency from game to game. While his frame is suited for a role as an end in a classic 3-4 scheme, he has plenty of tape showing he shouldn’t be scheme dependent on the next level. Scouts would like to see more dominant tape considering his size and power, but if he takes coaching and learns to unleash his hands, he could become an unruly interior force and good three-down starter."
Pro Football Focus caught up with him recently as well:
Clip courtesy of PFF’s official YouTube channel
Here’s some of the highlights of his profile on The Draft Network.
Here’s where he is in terms of his range.
"Has the range to make plays away from his gap. Very good speed for a defensive tackle and has the ability to change directions in space. Even dropped into coverage a few times at Notre Dame, operating in a spy role in other games. Only concern is lack of body control can at times leave him recovering his balance when he could be in pursuit."
He’s quite the tackler, something Philly seems to always be in constant need of:
"Haven’t seen any missed tackles from him on tape. Wraps up and hauls runners down outside his frame. Has delivered some big shots to quarterbacks, forced three fumbles over past two seasons."
In terms of his competitiveness, here’s where he is:
"While effort may have been a question in the past, Tillery was lights out this past season, playing every rep hard and consistently attempting to make hustle plays. Physical snap-to-snap, didn’t see his effort fade at all in 2018."
There are a few red flags including a bowl game suspension and a twitter rant where he verbally attacked Notre Dame head fotball coach Brian Kelly, but if you can look past that (and some NFL team will), here’s a guy that should fit nicely into any defensive scheme.
If he doesn’t, the scheme may need to be adjusted slightly. You can promise yourself that.