While the Los Angeles Chargers’ front office and coaching staff was obviously excited about drafting Jerry Tillery with the 28th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, no player on the team was more ecstatic than Isaac Rochell.
See, the pair now reunites in L.A. after they played together for two years at Notre Dame.
“It was cool for me to be able to play with him and watch him develop because he made a big jump from first year to second year,” Rochell said. “Off the field, I enjoyed hanging out with Jerry. He’s a cool dude who will fit well in our locker room, so I’m hyped to have him back (and) playing with him.”
But besides being excited about playing with a former teammate again, Rochell is equally as thrilled knowing what Tillery brings to the Bolts’ defense.
“He’s a beast! With what we need, he fits the mold. We need someone to come in; a big dude, to come in and pass rush, and he’s going to do that. He showed that all last year, and he was dominant. He’s an absolute run stopper because he’s a huge body with good leverage. He’s a jack-of-all-trades and I’m excited.”
Just two years removed from his rookie season, Rochell easily remembers the feeling of coming into the league and what that transition was like. He believes the veteran leadership on the defensive line will greatly serve Tillery well as he adjusts to the pro game.
“I think for him, it’s going to be important to have guys who can coach him along. He’s a great player, but for any young player coming in the NFL, it’s completely different than being in college. When you look to your left and your right, and you’ve got guys like (Brandon) Mebane and Melvin (Ingram) to coach you along the way, I think he’s going to flourish.”
But along with Mebane and Ingram also comes Rochell. History will repeat itself once again as Rochell is ready to take the rookie under his wing, just like other players did for him when he first came to the Bolts.
“I know Jerry, I love Jerry and I’m always going to shoot him straight. I think that’s something that’s going to be important for him, especially coming from a guy who he’s known for years. I’ve known Jerry for five (to) six years now since he came and visited Notre Dame. He came into my house on his visit, so I’m always going to shoot him straight, tell him how it is, help him be the best player he can be, and we’ll win a championship along the way.”