Round 1, No. 28 overall: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
My take: With just three defensive tackles on the roster, the Chargers filled the team’s most obvious need by selecting the 6-foot-6, 300-pound Tillery. Chargers GM Tom Telesco said he likes Tillery’s length, athleticism and ability as an interior pass-rusher, which should help defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram get to the quarterback more often. Telesco said Tillery was the last player left on his team’s board with a first-round grade when the Chargers selected at No. 28.
Tillery’s health a concern: Tillery suffered a torn labrum in a shoulder during his final season at Notre Dame that required surgery. However, Tillery said his rehab is ahead of schedule and he’s hopeful the injury will heal in time for him to participate in training camp at the end of July. “I”ve been told four months from March 6, when I had my surgery, I’ll be cleared for full contact,” Tillery said.
Fighting Irish teammates reunited: Tillery will see a familiar face in the defensive line room, joining defensive end Isaac Rochell, his former teammate at Notre Dame, now in his third season with the Bolts. Tillery said he spoke with Rochell after he learned the Chargers selected him at No. 28. “He told me what the defensive line room is like, how he’s looking forward to playing with me, how good this team is and how close we are,” Tillery said. “I think we can win a Super Bowl together.”
What’s next: The Chargers head into the second day of the draft with some positions that still need to be addressed, including safety, offensive line and receiver. The Bolts also have done extensive work on this year’s quarterback class, and they could look to select a developmental prospect to groom behind Philip Rivers in the second or third round.