Proposed Trade Gets Browns DL Help With Former First-Rounder

Jerry Tillery

Getty Images Jerry Tillery and Joey Bosa of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Cleveland Browns are in need of help on the interior of their defensive line and former first-round pick Jerry Tillery of the Los Angeles Chargers should be a prime target for the team as they investigate the market.

Tillery was a first-round pick of the Chargers in 2019 but hasn’t been an impact player for the franchise. He notched 51 tackles last season with 4.5 sacks, splitting time between defensive tackle and defensive end in the Chargers’ 3-4 defense. He’s started 29 games over the last three seasons, collecting 98 tackles and 9.5 sacks over that time.

Tillery was recently pitched by Bleacher Report as a trade target for the Browns as the season approaches.

The Cleveland Browns don’t emphasize stuffing the run among their defensive tackles. And they’re prepared to go into the season with the game’s worst group of interior defenders. One of Taven Bryan, Jordan Elliott, Tommy Togiai and rookie fourth-rounder Perrion Winfrey could surprise. But more help couldn’t hurt.

Tillery may be a first-round disappointment, but at least he’d give Cleveland someone of note between Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney.

The Browns have shown a penchant for taking gambles on former first-round picks, like Malik McDowell last season and Taven Bryan this year. And joining former No. 1 overall picks Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett on the defensive line could help Tillery get on track.

Browns Have High Hopes For Perrion Winfrey

Perrion Winfrey Press Conference | Cleveland BrownsNew Browns Defensive Lineman Perrion Winfrey addresses the media following his selection as the 108th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. #BrownsMedia #PressConference #2022Draft2022-04-30T17:31:29Z

While the Browns do not have a proven commodity at the defensive tackle position, the franchise has high hopes for Winfrey as they head into the season.

Winfrey played two years at Iowa Western Community College and was rated as the No. 1 overall junior college recruit in the country after that stint. He landed with Oklahoma, where he became a key piece of the defensive line. He was named as a second-team All-Big 12 Conference selection last, posting 23 tackles, 11 for loss with 5.5 sacks in 12 starts.

There are no questions about his mindset heading into the year and he has been focused on making an impact since he heard his name called at the draft.

“A dawg mentality. Come on now. I am coming in to kill right away with my boys. I am lined up next to (DE) Myles Garrett, the best defensive end in the game,” Winfrey said in his post-draft interview. “We are fixing to take this over. It is over with. I am telling you, it is over with. I am going to come in and work every single day until I can’t work anymore. They will feel me every single day, sir. I am going to give it my all on and off the field. Anything that is a negative in my game, I will turn it into a positive by the beginning of the season.”

Browns Have Impact Players in Clowney, Garrett

The Browns do have a pair of high-impact players in Garrett and Clowney, who should give opposing quarterbacks nightmares heading into game day. Having a strong presence at defensive tackle will only increase their effectiveness as they look to get to the quarterback, which defensive line coach Chris Kiffin pointed out.

“They should definitely improve and take another step. They’ve been working together and need to learn to work with (the defensive tackles),” Kiffin told “Those things all need to happen, and we’ll get to training camp and take that next step. We’ve got the right pieces together, and I think that was part of Jadeveon’s reasoning for coming back — being in the same system again for the second year in a row.”

Garrett is just four sacks shy of setting the franchise career-sack record at just 26 years old. He’s coming off a year where he recorded a franchise single-season record 16 sacks, building on his reputation as one of the most gifted defensive players in the league. Clowney notched nine sacks, good for second on the team behind Garrett.

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