Jerry Tillery, the Chargers’ first-round pick in 2019, struggled out of the gates in his first NFL season due to a slow recovery from an offseason shoulder injury. In 2020, with another year removed from that procedue, Tillery showed marked improvement as a pass-rusher, recording three sacks and 20 total pressures compared to just two sacks and a mere three pressures as a rookie.
With that progression in mind, Kristopher Knox tabbed Tillery as the Chargers’ biggest potential breakout star in 2021 in his latest article over at Bleacher Report. I should not that he acknowledges Justin Herbert could have been used, but he argued that Herbert has already broken out and become a rising star in the NFL.
Here’s what Knox had to say about the now third-year defender out of Notre Dame:
“The 2019 first-round pick out of Notre Dame logged a mere 17 tackles and two sacks with three quarterback pressures as a rookie. This season, he registered 30 tackles, three sacks and an impressive 20 pressures while starting 11 of his 16 games.”
“If Tillery can take a similar step forward in Year 3, he should become a dominant force. The addition of defensive head coach Brandon Staley should aid his development too. Staley spent last season as the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive coordinator, working with two-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.”
I think the hiring of Staley could be massive for numerous players across the defense, but it’s hard not to get overly excited about the Chargers’ pass rushers after watching what the Rams front seven was able to do against opposing offenses in this past season.
Here’s to hoping all of our hopes are warranted in 2021.
Now for today’s links.
Five things to know about Joe Lombardi (Chargers.com)
Hayley Elwood interviews head coach Brandon Staley (Chargers.com)
One free agent from each of Brandon Staley’s previous teams who could join the Chargers (Bolt Beat)
What-if scenarios for the draft’s top-10 picks (ESPN)
2021 NFL mock draft (CBS Sports)
Daniel Jeremiah’s top-50 draft prospects (NFL.com)
Top six landing spots for Matthew Stafford (NFL.com)
Mike Mayock approves of Derek Carr’s 2020 season (Pro Football Talk)