April 19, 2024

Cleveland Browns post-draft scouting report #1: Tennessee Volunteers star WR Cedric Jashon Tillman

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Profile: Cedric Tillman was born on April 19th, 2000 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tillman was ranked as a three-star recruit coming out of Bishop Gorman High School by 247Sports and ON3 Scouting, eventually committing to the University of Tennessee in February of 2018.

From 2018-2020, Tillman was a backup wide receiver for the Vols, learning the ropes under then University of Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

When the 2021 college football season occurred with the team’s new head coach Josh Heupel, Tillman became a starter and never looked back, finishing the season with 64 catches for 1,081 yards and 12 total touchdowns.

Cedric had hoped to upgrade his performance for the 2022 college football season but suffered a season-altering ankle injury which forced him to receive ankle surgery but he was healthy enough to finish the season to with 37 receptions for 417 yards and 3 touchdowns.

After being drafted by the Cleveland Browns during the 2023 NFL Draft, a lot of experts, most notably former Panthers star WR Steve Smith, having given a lot of respect to the young upstart WR who is expected to make a very strong impact early in Cleveland.

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

Age: 23 years old

Arm Length: 32 ¾”

Hand Size: 10”

Height/Weight: 6’3”, 213lbs

2023 NFL Draft: 74th overall pick (3rd round) by the Cleveland Browns

Ideal Role: A very effective outside X receiver that dominated in Tennessee’s vertical spread offense lead by QB Hendon Hooker, Watson can easily help shape Tillman longevity in the NFL as a elite Z (flanker) receiver in the NFL just based on size and manpower alone.

Strengths:

  • The most impressive thing about Cedric Tillman’s skillset is how reliable his hands are as a college football WR, only committing five drops during his five-year collegiate career
  • Has the uncanny ability to make defenders playing press on him look silly, he’ll jump the hell up with anybody when the ball is in play like a NBA center, completely fearless with man on man coverage
  • Can make additional adjustments while in stride with great muscle memory to consistently get his hands in the right place to catch the football; great hand/eye coordination helped with wide catch radius
  • Perfect footwork and lateral quickness for a X receiver, allowing him to manipulate defenders when running routes
  • Has the physical traits to become a dominant AFC North wide receiver, at an intimidating 6’3, 216 lbs with a wide arm length of 32 ¾”
  • Professional football bloodline; His father was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 1992 NFL Draft at 305thoverall pick during the 11th round

 

Weaknesses:

  • Lacks top-end speed to become a elite X receiver in the NFL; showcasing 4.54 40-yard dash time at the 2023 NFL Combine
  • Overcoming a serious season-defining injury last year; underwent specialized ankle surgery recently just to speed up the recovery
  • Route tree at Tennessee lacked diversity; aligned only to the right side of the offense and was ideal only in a simple minded pass first offense
  • Lacks open field variety of moves in terms of juking and spinning away from defenders; just mostly relying on his vicious stiff arms to earn yards after the catch, which won’t always bail him out at the next level
  • As a run blocker, he doesn’t dominate defenders the way you expect for a 6’3 giant, as he’ll struggle generating power effectively
  • Lack of consistency while at Tennessee; 2021 season was the only season he earned over 1,000 receiving yards

Career Stats: While at the University of Tennessee, Cedric Tillman made 109 career receptions for 1,622 all-purpose yards, and made 17 total touchdowns during his five collegiate football seasons.

Career Achievements: 2018 First-year SEC Academic Honor Roll, 2019 Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll, 2020 Fall Academic Honor Roll, & 2021 All-SEC Second Team (Phil Steele)

NFL Combine Results: 4.54 40-yard-dash, 1.53 10-yard split, 10’8” broad jump, & a 37” vertical jump

Fun Fact: Tillman was high school football teammates with Dorian Thompson-Robinson at Bishop Gorman High School in Nevada, they are now teammates again as the UCLA QB was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 5th round.

NFL Projection for Cedric Tillman: Indianapolis Colts WR Michael Pittman

Final Verdict: B+ draft grade; Star potential

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