What the Cleveland Browns got with Cedric Tillman at No. 74

Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman (4) makes a catch during the first half of a NCAA college
Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman (4) makes a catch during the first half of a NCAA college / Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cleveland Browns are finally on the board with their selection of Cedric Tillman with the 74th overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-3, 213-pound wide receiver out of the University of Tennessee entered the draft as a redshirt senior. The selection is a bit of a head-scratcher due to Tillman’s: age, injury history, and skill set.

From a physical perspective, Tillman is a prototypical big-body X-receiver. At the NFL combine, Tillman recorded a 4.57 40-yard dash, a 37-inch vertical jump, and a 10-foot-8-inch broad jump. Tillman’s measurables give the Browns another big weapon for Deshaun Watson to throw to.

Tillman is excellent working in traffic and plays with a fearless nature that lends itself to making tough catches. Although Tillman is not a burner, he can win deep through his physicality and timing. He possesses an excellent catch radius that could see him excel in the redzone.

While Tillman’s expectations should be low entering his rookie season and given who the Browns already have in the wide receiver room, there could be instances where he sees action in certain packages. But the selection of Tillman does double up on the skillset that Donovan Peoples-Jones possesses. Does the selection of Tillman spell the end for DPJ’s time in Cleveland?

Another interesting aspect of Tillman’s selection is actual proof that General Manager Andrew Berry is loosening some of the draft guardrails that the team has been following since Berry’s arrival. Tillman is 23 years old and is now the oldest player that Berry has ever taken inside the first three rounds. It will be interesting to see if the age guardrail continues to be ignored or if this was just a one-off with Tillman.

The most concerning aspect of Tillman’s selection is his injury history. Through five years at Tennessee, Tillman only played in 24 games, and 12 of those came in his junior year. That is not the kind of availability that inspires confidence going forward.

This is a riskier selection than we are used to seeing Berry take, one that might leave the fanbase holding its collective breath every time Tillman goes up for a reception.

Next. Why the Browns picking Cedric Tillman was a mistake. dark