Excellent height, weight, length for the interior DL
Uses hands and feet at same time
Technically sound interior defensive lineman
Closes on quarterbacks well
Ability to shed blocks
Quality run defender
Can bull through offensive linemen
Not easy to move at the point of attack
Carries weight well
Successful against good competition
Can play a variety of 4-3 or 3-4 techniques
Physicality, can play with a nasty demeanor
Does not look motivated all the time
Reportedly has not been a good teammate
Does not always play up to his timed speed
Disappears for stretches
May end up being an underachiever
Summary: Tillery has flashed for Notre Dame over the past few years, showing a pro skill set while being active at the point of attack. As a sophomore, he played better than his stats - 37 tackles, three for a loss - illustrate and flashed a good combination of size and speed. He was improved in 2017, totaling 47 tackles with nine for a loss, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Tillery was trending in the right direction and seemed poised for a big senior year. Entering this season's college football playoff, he has played well overall. He had a hot start to the year and was superb in games against Michigan and Stanford. In the middle portion, however, Tillery cooled down, but he played better at the end of the regular season. Tillery has 30 tackles with eight sacks, 10.5 tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles on the season.
According to NFL teams' preseason data provided by team sources, Tillery checks in at 6-foot-6, 304 pounds with 33.63-inch arms, 10.63-inch hands, and a wingspan of 82 inches. They have him running a fast 40-yard dash at 4.80 seconds, which is an excellent time for a 300-pound defensive tackle.
In the pass rush, Tillery is solid, but not outstanding. He has decent first-step quickness that he uses to get into the chest of the offensive linemen. On Tillery's best pass rushes, he uses active hands to shed blocks. When he gets tangled up or doesn't continue to use his hands, he can get tied up. Tillery has some strength to him with the ability to shed blocks and bull rush into the pocket. When he is playing well, Tillery is a physical defender who has some nastiness to him.
In the ground game, Tillery is a big body who is generally sound to hold his gap and hold his ground. He had good size and strength to not get pushed around. Tillery also can shed blocks and make tackles outside of his gap. With his height, length, weight, quickness and strength, Tillery could be a good run defender as a five-technique in a 3-4, a nose tackle in a 3-4, a nose tackle in a 4-3, a power left end in a 4-3, or a three-technique in a 4-3. For the next level, Tillery fits any defense.
Tillery needs to become more consistent, because he can have stretches when blockers who aren't nearly as talented can contain him. He also has a reputation of not being a great teammate, so off-the-field issues are something he will have to address in pre-draft meetings.
Team sources are split on Tillery. Some really like his skill set, and others feel he does not play up to it. The ones who like him feel he is too big and talented to fall lower than the middle portion of the second round. Others who don't like Tillery think he could slide lower. His pre-draft meetings and visits are going to be crucial for him, because even scouts who like him as a player say that Tillery's personality is a problem.
Because of the combination of his skill set but makeup concerns, there is a wide range in where Tillery could end up being drafted. He could sneak into the first round, or he could slide into Round 3. Entering draft season, the second round seems like Tillery's most likely landing spot.
Player Comparison: Stephon Tuitt. Tillery's size and skill set are similar to Tuitt. In the NFL, Tuitt (6-6, 303) has been an excellent five-technique defensive end in the Steelers' 3-4 defense after being a second-round pick out of Notre Dame. If his personality issues don't cause him to self-destruct, I think Tillery could end up being a similar pro to Tuitt.
NFL Matches: Cleveland, Buffalo, Miami, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Green Bay, Los Angeles Chargers
Entering the weeks of the season, the draft order is not set yet so it can be harder to project matchups for prospects. Check back in the months to come as this scouting report will be updated with measurements, final stats, info from team sources, and more NFL matches once the draft order is set along with team needs changing because of free agency. Thus, the teams listed here are more of a broad swath of potential matchups.
Interior pass-rushers are hard to find, so there should be a lot of teams hoping to land Tillery in the 2019 NFL Draft. Cleveland would be a good fit for Tillery. The Browns are in need of an interior pass-rusher, and Tillery would fit what they need in Gregg Williams' scheme. If Cleveland is picking in the middle of the first round, Tillery could be in play for the organization.
In the AFC East, the Bills could use a young interior disruptor for their scheme, and Kyle Williams is nearing the end of his great career. Miami needs to replace Ndamukong Such, and Tillery could form a nice tandem with Charles Harris.
The Colts have switched to a 4-3 defense under their new coaching staff and could consider a three-technique penetrator and/or a nose tackle. Tillery could be a good fit in Indianapolis.
Minnesota also could consider a three-technique after Sharrif Floyd was forced into early retirement and Sheldon Richardson was only signed to a 1-year contract. Similarly, Green Bay signed Muhammed Wilkerson to a 1-year contract. Tillery could interest the Vikings and be in play for the Packers.
The Chargers could use some youth on the inside of their defensive line, and a motivated Tillery could be a dangerous rusher sandwiched by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.