Cedric Tillman Complete NFL Draft Profile (Tennessee's Big-Bodied Receiver Fits in Old-School Offenses)
Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman is headed to the 2023 NFL Draft following a 2022 season that was marred by injuries after breaking out in 2021. A big-bodied receiver who is a bit of a throwback at the position, Tillman is an intriguing option at wideout.
Here's everything you need to know about Cedric Tillman heading into the 2023 NFL Draft.
Cedric Tillman Draft Stock & Mock Draft Projections
New England Patriots
New York Giants
Mock draft sources accurate as of 4/25 NFL.com, ESPN, CBS, Walter Football, Sporting News.
Projected Draft Round: Round 3 (3), Round 2 (2)
Projected Team: Falcons (1), Patriots (1), Cardinals (1), Giants (1), Colts (1)
Cedric Tillman Scouting Report
Tillman possesses an impressive combination of size, skill, and toughness. With notable performances against Alabama and Georgia, Tillman has shown his ability to catch the ball through contact and use his size and ball skills to impose his will on opponents in the deep game against top collegiate competition. However, he must improve his explosiveness out of breaks to succeed at the NFL level where windows will be tighter.
Tillman, standing at 6'3" and weighing 213 pounds, has the prototypical size for an outside receiver. His combine performance showcased his athleticism, with a 4.54-second 40-yard dash and an 89th-percentile broad jump. His quick feet and good body control allow him to create separation in routes and make defenders miss in the open field. Tillman's strong hands and ability to dominate in contested catch situations make him a red zone threat.
Despite his physical attributes, Tillman has certain limitations. His route tree at Tennessee was simple, which may be more a symptom of their offense than a reflection of his skill set. He doesn't possess overwhelming speed to create separation and his performances in 2022 were not as dominant as in 2021, even before his ankle injury.
Tillman's strengths include his hand strength and catching instincts, which allow him to excel in contested situations and track the ball well downfield. His physicality makes him a force to be reckoned with, as he can scrape off defensive backs and outmuscle defenders to create separation. Tillman's route-running skills are also a strong aspect of his game, with the ability to quickly snap around on deep hitches and comebacks.
However, Tillman's weaknesses include a lack of elite initial burst or long speed, and inconsistency in his route-running. He may struggle against press coverage in the NFL and must expand his route tree to maximize his potential. Additionally, as a run blocker, he could improve his power generation to maintain lanes for ball carriers more efficiently.
Tillman is a promising wide receiver prospect with an intriguing blend of size, athleticism, and competitiveness. While he has areas to improve, his physicality and ball skills give him a strong foundation to develop into a valuable weapon in the NFL. With the right coaching and development, Tillman could become a dominant presence on the field.
Cedric Tillman NFL Draft Prediction
Tillman's a guy whose draft stock probably would have been a lot higher if he were coming out about 10 years ago. The "prototypical X receiver" archetype that guys like Dez Bryant modeled just doesn't carry the same weight it used to in today's more wide-open passing attacks.
That's not to say that Tillman won't find a fit, but it's probably going to be a team that uses a more outdated offensive approach.
Bill Belichick has never been at the forefront of drafting wide receivers, and he seems determined to have Mac Jones lead a 2008-style offense. That makes Tillman a stylistic match.
Prediction: New England Patriots (Round 3, 76 overall)
Check out more NFL Draft Coverage from The Duel:
Cedric Tillman NFL Combine Results
Cedric Tillman Tennessee Stats