Cleveland Browns Rookie Draft Profile: Cedric Tillman

Cleveland Browns Rookie Draft Profile: Cedric Tillman

Mac Blank
1 year ago
4 min read
Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman runs with football during game

Browns fans across the nation for the second year in a row waited until late day two to hear their team pick a collegiate talent. With the 74th pick Cleveland selected Cedric Tillman, a WR from the University of Tennessee. 

Tillman is a pro ready WR with a massive frame that plays the position with physicality, giving his QB a big and reliable target. 

What He Does Well

Cedric Tillman uses his 6’3 213lb frame to his advantage playing a “bully ball” style versus defenders. He is very aggressive, attacking the ball when it is throw his way. While he doesn’t have the speed to blow past defenders, it doesn’t matter when he wins a majority of the 50/50 balls that come his way. 

This style of play proved productive in his last 18 games where he totaled 108 catches, 1,498 yards, and 15 TDs. In his junior season in 2021, he averaged 16.9 yards per catch which was second in the SEC. This is very impressive considering the conference was littered with now NFL talent like Jameson Williams, John Metchie, Treylon Burks, and Wan’Dale Robinson. 

His best games of his collegiate career came against top competition as well. In the two games against Georgia and one vs Alabama he totaled 24 catches for 420 yards (17.5 yards per catch) and 2 TDs. 

What the stat sheet won’t show you, however, is that he blocks well in space. Tennessee totaled over 2,000 rushing yards in back to back years and part of the reason was Tillman’s ability to block and seal the edge on the perimeter. This will certainly not only help the Browns but help Tillman see the field more. We saw Donovan Peoples-Jones climb the depth chart his rookie year just by his ability to block. 

The Cons

Very rarely is a player still on the board late day two of the draft without a reason. Tillman of course has some physical issues: one being he doesn’t have the third gear to create separation at the top of his route, but what’s more concerning is he missed the last six games of his collegiate career with ankle surgery. 

Of course general manager Andrew Berry and the rest of the front office made sure he was medically cleared, but it will be interesting to see how that will affect him the rest of his career. 

Tillman’s biggest flaw is seen when you throw on the tape, as he’s yet to show ability to beat press man with technique. He struggles getting off the line of scrimmage against bigger corners.

He’s yet to show he can lower his pad level and leverage his way around the defender that is trying to jam him off the ball. It’s unclear what he was taught at the University of Tennessee but the Browns will need to teach Tillman the technique to beat press man coverage or it will hinder his production at the NFL level. 

Value At Pick

General manager Andrew Berry and the Browns front office has yet to show they will reach for a player. Either they pick their guy who they value is close to a number that is similar to where they are picking, or they trade down to recoup more draft picks. 

This is also a draft where they didn’t have an absolute glaring need where they had to pick a certain position, so they drafted who they thought was the best available. Looking who was still available, it hard to debate there could have been a better pick. UNC WR Josh Downs is great but he’s a slot receiver, which the Browns have a lot of on the roster already. 

Why pick the guy that’s just as fast and possesses the same ball skills but is a half a foot shorter in height? Of course they could have selected Wake Forest DT Kobie Turner but selecting him at 74 would be a reach. There is an argument that they could have selected OSU DE Zach Harrison but Cedric Tillman as a player is more NFL ready and without a doubt can contribute from day one. 

Overall, I have to give this selection a B+. Tillman is a physical specimen that will help a Browns team that was in the bottom half of the league last year in 3rd down and redzone conversion percentage. I’m sure quarterback Deshaun Watson will enjoy a large target with an even larger catch radius. 

Any QB will tell you they love throwing to a guy that can just go up and get it. The hesitancy to give this pick an A is simply based on Tillman’s ability to beat press man off the line of scrimmage. The AFC North has some of the most physical cover corners such as Marlon Humphrey and Patrick Peterson. If Tillman can learn more finesse to his game to combine with his physical play style, he can be great weapon and a big contributor to this Browns offense.

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