2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Tennessee WR Cedric Tillman

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I will be profiling Tennessee wide receiver, Cedric Tillman.

#4 Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee (rSR) — 6033, 213 lbs.

Combine/Pro Day Measurements

Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Cedric Tillman 6’3 3/8”/213 10 32 3/4 N/A
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
4.55 1.53 N/A N/A
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
10’8” 37 N/A

The Good

— Prototypical size and length
— Solid quickness and hand usage at the LOS and within routes
— Good play strength and uses it to his advantage
— Good acceleration off the LOS
— Can create separation in variety of ways
— Very good hands overall, solid in contested catches
— Very good ability to adjust to throws in all directions
— Tracks the ball well, solid sideline awareness
— Very good blocker in effort and ability to sustain
— Big numbers vs Alabama, Georgia

The Bad

— Doesn’t have the second gear to threaten over the top
— Played vast majority of the snaps on the right side
— Limited route tree
— Production came from a handful of routes
— Physical DB’s can slow him off the line
— Yards after the catch was adequate


— 2022 – 37 receptions, 417 yards, 3 TD
— Career – 109 receptions, 1,622 yards, 17 TD
— 44 games, 21 starts
— 2021 Second team All-SEC (Phil Steele)
— SEC Academic Honor roll (2018 – 2021)— Receptions 20+ yards (24), 30+ (12), 40+ (10)
— Senior Bowl Invitee
— Graduated in December 2021
— High ankle sprain in Week 3 limited playing time in 2022
— Father Cedric played for Denver and Jacksonville in the NFL
— Birthday 4/19/2000 (age 22)

Tape Breakdown

After a very productive 2021 season that included a thousand yards and 12 touchdowns, he battled through the 2022 season after suffering a high ankle sprain in week three. He came back earlier than expected later in the year to try to help his team to the college football playoffs. He played the vast majority of his snaps on the right side of the formation near the sideline.

As a receiver, he shows solid quickness and hand usage against Press coverage at the line of scrimmage. His play strength is very good and will use it to muscle through jams. He displays good acceleration off the line of scrimmage and can get on the toes of defensive back vs Off coverage. Against Zone coverage, he showed good awareness of gaps in the coverage and gave his quarterback a good target. To create space, he uses play strength at the top of his route, quickness on in-breaking routes and a very good hip drop on comeback routes. He also knows how to manipulate DB’s to get them off balance.

Vs Pittsburgh, this is a beautiful route pressing to the outside to get the DB on his heels, but the ball was overthrown.

Comeback routes were used often. He did a nice job of running off the DB before dropping his hips and working back to the ball.

He was impressive against Georgia the last two seasons with 17 receptions and 268 yards with a touchdown. This is part of what he did in 2021.

Whether stationary or on the move he showed good hands and a large catch radius able to adjust all around his frame to off-target throws. On contested catches, he showed solid production using his play strength to his advantage. He tracks the deep ball well and has solid sideline awareness.

Vs South Carolina, he shows off his body control to make a couple of nice end zone receptions.

I was impressed by his willingness and effort to block for teammates. He uses his hand and play strength to his advantage to engage, sustain and drive off defensive backs.

You love to see a guy willing to do the dirty work. Whether is blocking a linebacker and sustaining or driving a DB out of bounds.

It was a physical game versus Kentucky and whether executing a block or just letting the DB know he was there he played with aggressiveness.

Facing a jam at the line of scrimmage, when he misses with his hands he will get hung up by the defender. His route tree was not very diverse with a lot of slants, screens, comebacks and go routes. After the catch, he didn’t produce as much as you would like but some of that could be due to the ankle issue. On deep throws, he didn’t show and extra gear to separate over the top. He had very few snaps on the left side or in the slot.

Press coverage can slow him down. The first clip a well-placed jam gets him off balance. In the second clip, he is delayed by the DB getting into his break.

He didn’t show consistency getting over the top of DB’s and they were able to stay in stride with him.


Tillman is a receiver with very good size and play strength. He played primarily on the right side of the formation with a lot of his production coming from slants, comebacks and go routes. His hands are good, tracks the ball well and has a very good catch radius. He can separate in different ways and is solid after the catch. As a blocker, he uses his hand and play strength to sustain blocks well for his teammates.

Areas to improve include running a more diverse route tree, becoming more consistent with his hands against press coverage and working on stacking DBs on deep routes. He rarely played on the left side of the formation but should be able to handle it.

Tillman looks like the prototypical X receiver. He has the size, hands and knows how to separate. With his effort to block and to come back from injury last year shows me he’s a team player and willing to do what he can. He also has the bloodlines the Steelers like.

He will have to prove himself as more versatile with his routes though Tennessee’s offense was pretty basic so I think that wouldn’t be a problem. His speed and ability to create space versus physical DBs will be the biggest questions for me. Overall, I like his game and I think he could be a good number two or three receivers.

For a player comp, I’ll go with Courtland Sutton who had good a good catch radius, played physical and was a good blocker with some questions about overall speed and getting over the top when he came out.

Projection: Late Day Two

Depot Draft Grade:  7.7 Potential Starter/Good Backup (3rd Round)

Games Watched: 2021 – Vs Purdue; 2022 – At Pittsburgh, Vs Kentucky, At Georgia, At South Carolina

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