COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers addressed their need at defensive tackle in the first round, selecting Notre Dame’s Jerry Tillery with the 28th overall pick.
Tillery was a second-team selection to The Associated Press All-America team after leading the Fighting Irish in sacks (eight) and forced fumbles (three). He had 30 tackles, including 10½ for loss, and five quarterback hurries to help lead Notre Dame to the College Football Playoff semifinals.
The 6-foot-7, 305-pound Tillery played in 50 games during his collegiate career and recorded 13½ sacks. He had shoulder surgery in March but is expected to be ready by the start of the season.
Los Angeles tied for the best regular-season record in the AFC last season at 12-4, but depth on the defensive line has taken a hit during the offseason. They released Corey Liuget prior to the start of free agency while Darius Philon and Damion Square departed as unrestricted free agents. The Chargers have one of the better defensive end combinations in the league in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram and they re-signed Brandon Mebane to man one of the defensive tackle spots.
This is the third time in the past four years that general manager Tom Telesco has taken a defensive player in the first round. He selected Bosa with the third overall pick in 2016 and took safety Derwin James 17th overall last year.
The Chargers still have needs at linebacker, free safety and guard, which they are expected to address on Friday and Saturday.
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