Jerry Tillery | What is His Best Fit in the NFL

Since his arrival as a true freshman, Tillery has seen the field and been one of the main cogs of their defense. In 2017 as a junior Tillery had his best season as his 56 total tackles was sixth best on the team while he lead the team in sacks (4.5) and was third in tackles for loss (9.0). At 6’7 305lbs it’s not hard to miss Jerry Tillery on the football field as he mans the middle of the Fighting Irish’s defense but at his size and with his movement skills you have to wonder if playing defensive tackle is the best fit for his skill set.

 

Where Does Jeffery Tillery Best Fit

With Tillery’s size and length he does look a bit out of place playing against guards and centers who are traditionally shorter lineman who are able to get underneath his pad level and cause him trouble in the run game. Moving more towards the B gap and taking on tackles on a more frequent basis would allow him to use his length better and also keep his body free. Tillery isn’t going to be an edge rusher coming off the outside shoulder of the tackle, but putting him shading the outside of the guard or the inside of the tackle should allow him to use his strength against tackles and his quickness against guards. This is all why I feel that Tillery would be best served in a defense that runs an odd front base defense. We’ve seen too often with the taller defensive tackles that they can struggle working inside on a regular basis, but when you move them a bit further out, they can have success.

 

Outlook

Based on his traits I’m not sure that Tillery is poised to be a good starter in the NFL, but if he goes to the right team and plays in a system that has him lineup more in that B gap then he looks like he could be a good role player or even low end starter. This upcoming season I’ll be watching to see how Tillery does with his pad level and if he can improve working against smaller lineman. But at this point it looks as if Tillery is going to be best served as a 3-4 defensive end who plays on early downs as a run defender.

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