Former Irish DT Jerry Tillery could be first round pick in NFL Draft

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32 of the best players across college football will have their dreams come true Thursday night, as they hear their names called in the NFL Draft. Notre Dame has had a player picked in every draft for the past 80 years, the longest streak in college football.

Former Irish defensive tackle Jerry Tillery has the best chance to push that streak to 81 on Thursday night.

Tillery weighed leaving school early for the NFL last year, but decided to come back for his senior season - in part to work on his pass rush - and it looked like that decision has paid off.

As an interior defensive lineman, he led the team with 8 sacks, and also notched 10.5 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, 30 tackles, and even 2 blocked kicks.

Many mock drafts have Tillery going in the end of the first round, including some that have him staying in Indiana and playing for the Colts, who own the 26th overall pick.

Tillery is a converted offensive lineman. He's 6'6, 295 lbs. and has the potential to get even bigger and stronger. The NFL has described him as having "scary" natural power, and many opposing quarterbacks Tillery has faced would agree.

Scouts though have said Tillery needs to work on his hands, as well as his consistency. That lack of consistency though, is probably at least in part due to playing through a torn labrum in his shoulder that he played most of the season with.

He underwent surgery to repair his shoulder after the NFL Combine in February, but is reportedly ahead of schedule in his recovery, and should be ready for the start of training camp.

If Tillery doesn't get picked in the first 32 picks Thursday, he will likely be one of the first players off the board when the second round begins Friday.

The NFL Draft begins Thursday night at 8pm from Nashville, TN. It will air on ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network.