VDT: Tennessee WR Cedric Tillman Is the Forgotten WR Prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft

Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman (4) reacts after scoring a touchdown at the 2021 Music City Bowl NCAA college football game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021. Kns Tennessee Purdue

The 2023 NFL Draft is filled with some talented wide receivers once again, but there is one in particular who has seemed to have gone forgotten in this group. That player is Tennessee WR Cedric Tillman, and he is the focus of today’s edition of Vikings Draft Thermometer series, PurplePTSD‘s one-stop shop for all your 2023 NFL Draft needs.

Throughout this series, we have examined a number of prospects ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, what exactly their role could be at the NFL level, and most importantly, whether or not they could end up playing their first NFL snaps in a Vikings uniform. 


Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman (4) carries the ball he was presented during a pregame ceremony recognizing the team seniors before the start of the NCAA college football game against Missouri on Saturday, November 12, 2022 in Knoxville, Tenn. Ut Vs Missouri
  • Height: 6′ 3″
  • Weight: 213 pounds
  • Arm Length: 32 3/4″
  • Hand Size: 10″
  • 40-Yard Dash: 4.54 seconds
  • 10-Yard Split: 1.53 seconds
  • Vertical Jump: 37″
  • Broad Jump: 10′ 8″
  • School: Tennessee
  • Games Watched: Alabama (2021), Georgia (2021), Pittsburgh (2022), Georgia (2022)


VDT: Tennessee WR Cedric Tillman
Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman (4) during Tennessee’s game against Georgia at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. Kns Vols Georgia Bp
  • 2018: 1 reception, -3 yards (1 game)
  • 2019: 4 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD (3 games)
  • 2020: 3 receptions, 67 yards, 1 TD (2 games)
  • 2021: 64 receptions, 1081 yards, 12 TDs (12 games)
  • 2022: 37 receptions, 417 yards, 3 TDs (6 games)


Oct 29, 2022; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Cedric Tillman (4) runs the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats during the first half at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

In a draft class filled with players either under 6 feet tall, under 200 pounds, or both, Cedric Tillman offers a much more prototypical size for an outside receiver at the NFL level. This size shows up in his playstyle as well with Tillman being an extremely physical receiver, oftentimes winning in one-on-one battles.

He doesn’t showcase the greatest speed, but this physical play allows him to be a threat in deep, jump-ball scenarios. With some great body control and strong hands, he can haul in these types of passes on a regular basis.

Finally, if you take a look at his games against Alabama and Georgia to close the 2021 season (the two teams that played for both the SEC and national championships), Tillman had some of his best performances against them. If this is any indicator for how he should fare at the NFL level, it seems like a positive sign.


Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman (4) is defended by Purdue cornerback Jamari Brown (7) at the 2021 Music City Bowl NCAA college football game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021. Kns Tennessee Purdue

The biggest concern with Tillman right now is his ankle injury that forced him to play just six games in 2022. The receiver already wasn’t one of the more explosive athletes, and now, if he’s hindered further by lingering effects from that injury, it could impact his ability to thrive in the NFL.

Additionally, he doesn’t always run the cleanest routes in the world because of a lack of explosiveness and agility off the snap. Against faster corners, this could cause some problems as well.

NFL Projection

Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman (4) runs into the end zone for a touchdown during the 2021 TransPerfect Music City Bowl between Tennessee and Purdue at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021. Hpt Music City Bowl Second Half 13
  • Draft Round: Early Second-Mid Third
  • Immediate Role: Secondary boundary receiver
  • Best-Case Scenario: Anquan Boldin
  • Vikings Draft Temperature: 60

Right now, the most likely scenario for the Vikings in the draft is to trade down from the 23rd overall pick. If they do that, and want to target another big receiver to take up targets and ease some pressure off Justin Jefferson, Tillman becomes a very intriguing option. He may not be the type of speedy slot receiver that they are potentially looking for, though, and that may knock him down the board a few spots.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.