Whether fair or not, Jerry Tillery will be one of the more polarizing prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Jerry Tillery came to Notre Dame as a high-upside athlete capable of manning the left tackle position on the offensive line or lining up on the defensive line in multiple formation sets. The Irish coaching staff and Tilley agreed on defensive tackle, and that turned out to be a great decision.
During his time in South Bend, Tillery was often the focal point of many discussions. He has a number of interests outside of football, which make him a fascinating individual to speak with, but he also flashed elite physical traits on the field. Unfortunately, he was also caught doing some not so nice things in a few games early on. This has led to an interesting discussion about his NFL future.
Tillery stands at over 6’6′ feet tall and north of 300 pounds, but he he moves like a strong-side defensive end. He’s powerful enough to play nose tackle, quick enough to play 3-tech and versatile enough to line up on a tackle. However, scouts are taking a deep look at his love for the game and previous mishaps on the field. Fair or not, that is what the NFL draft process has become. In some cases, teams would rather take a kid with a criminal history than a kid that shows interests outside of the sport.
This leaves Tillery in a weird area. His tape shows a player with first round traits, but a loaded defensive line class and the variables mentioned above could push him down to Round 2 or later. That means a team could reap the benefits of his talent and potential without sacrificing precious draft capital in the process.
Now, which teams could use a guy like Tillery? He fits most schemes due to his versatility, but which organizations are accustomed to taking multifaceted defensive linemen? The first franchises that come to mind are the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers.
With two first round picks, a history of taking defensive linemen in the first round, and Muhammad Wilkerson a free agent to be, the Packers seem like an ideal fit for the Louisiana native. With players such as Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels and Dean Lowry on the roster with similar attributes, Tillery would fit right in along the defensive front.
And again, don’t forget about the draft capital. They have two first round picks in the 2019 draft and 10 total. If a team is going to draft Tillery early, the Packers are as good a fit and bet as anyone.