The son of a four-year veteran NFL receiver by the same name, Tennessee wideout Cedric Tillman enters the 2023 draft with five years of FBS experience, though only one season really showcased his ability.
Weight: 213 pounds
40 time: 4.54 seconds
A redshirt freshman year in 2018 was followed up with only five appearances over the next two seasons, culminating with an unmemorable eight receptions. In 2021, with Josh Palmer now in the NFL, Tillman ascended into the No. 1 role for quarterback Hendon Hooker. As a senior, however, a high-ankle sprain shortened his campaign and derailed a bid for consecutive All-SEC honors. Expect a Day 3 selection in the upcoming draft.
Table: Cedric Tillman stats (2018-22)
*includes postseason/bowl games (stats from Sports Reference)
- Excellent size and reliable hands for a possession receiver
- A knack for making timely big plays and clutch catches — fearless over the middle and unimpeded by defenders barreling down on him
- Having a direct NFL bloodline can’t hurt
- Rose to the competition vs. Georgia and Alabama in 2021 breakout season (17-352-2)
- Tracks over-the-shoulder throws as well as anyone in this draft class
- Plus-body control and catch radius
- Quality route-running traits — varied pacing, doesn’t tip his routes, understands comeback nuances
- Proud and highly competitive — was willing to gut it out in 2022 before being shut down
- Has the size and functional strength to improve as a blocker
- Unimpressive athleticism and speed — he won’t run away from many people in the NFL and doesn’t have immediate burst
- Could stand to be more consistent coming out of his breaks — solid but not special in this regard
- Limited production in college and is coming off a forgettable, injury-shortened season
- Too reliant on his frame for creating separation
- Lacks game-changing upside as a pro
Fantasy football outlook
Tillman reminds of Alshon Jeffery in many ways. The latter was a little better athlete, but the general comparison remains fair in terms of the offerings. Tillman will be at his best in a West Coast offense as a No. 2 target where he can rely on racking up volume over the middle with an occasional deep route to shake things up.
In 2023 fantasy drafts, consider him no more than a late-round roster filler. At 23 years old entering his rookie year, Tillman probably has a window of only two to four years of being a viable fantasy asset in dynasty leagues. The likeliest trajectory from the optimistic side of the coin has him in the WR2 conversation for PPR purposes, but it’s a safer bet that Tillman will be a career backup with spot-start potential.