New Team Member ‘Surprised’ to Be Drafted By the Browns


In the 2023 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns used their first pick on wide receiver Cedric Tillman out of the University of Tennessee. In a conference call with members of the media, he admitted he was “a little surprised” that the Browns drafted him, but he’s “excited” to be playing with the team, especially quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Cedric Tillman Said the Browns Drafting Him Was ‘A Good Surprise’

In his first conference call as a member of the Dawg Pound, Tillman admitted he did not expect to be drafted by the Browns but he’s “fired up” to get to play with the caliber of players he’s going to be on the field with.

“I was a little surprised, but it was a good surprise. I’m ready to go,” said Tillman, adding, “I’m fired up. You know Deshaun Watson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and I’m really looking forward to getting to know all my teammates and new brothers, new coaches and stuff, so I’m excited … I know all those receivers, those are all good receivers. I’m really excited to join them and be a part of the Cleveland Browns receiving group.”

He added that he’s especially excited to work with fellow receiver Amari Cooper and learn all he can from the veteran pro.

“I’m very excited, I’ve watched Amari Cooper since his Alabama days. So having one of the best receivers, one of the best route runners, being able to learn from him will be huge for my game. I look forward to it,” said Tillman, adding that playing at Tennessee “really helped” him be prepared for the NFL.

“Tennessee really helped me. I learned how to play fast and really compete for the ball downfield, run downfield routes,” said Tillman. “Going to the league, it’s a different type of game. Route running is going to be an important key, so I’m going to learn from one of the best in Amari Cooper, and that’s going to be dope.”

In an Instagram video for the Browns’ official account, Tillman said that he’s “looking forward to ballin’ out” in Cleveland.

“What’s good, Dawg Pound? Excited to be here, first day in Cleveland. Looking forward to ballin’ out here, ready to get to know my teammates, get to know the coaches, everybody involved, ready to get to know you guys, so I’m excited. Let’s do it,” said the wide receiver.

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski & General Manager Andrew Berry Think Tillman Will Hit the Ground Running in the Pros

In their own press conference about the draft, head coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry said that Tillman is a great fit for the team and they don’t see the transition to the pros being hard for him at all.

“I don’t think it’ll be a transition. I think you see his skillset, you see him come off the ball. Yes, he’s winning outside quite a bit, working outside. He’s very intelligent and it will not be an issue moving him around at all,” said Stefanski.

Berry added, “His size, his strength, he is a very good athlete, despite his dimensions, and has really strong hands. That being said, while he’s not necessarily your vertical stretch player, his speed is just fine, so we thought it was a nice holistic package more than anything. Certainly, the hands were a big part of it.”

They also said that while their receiving corp was already strong, you can “never have enough playmakers,” hence the Tillman selection with their first draft pick.

“I’d say in general, you can never have enough playmakers, guys that can do something with the ball in their hands,” said Berry. “I also have mentioned in the past here that part of our job in building our roster is to think about both the present and the future. I think, specifically with the pass-catching group, we like the variety that we have in that position room, where guys can produce and win in different ways. We’re optimistic that it will grant Kevin and the offensive staff more flexibility as they gameplan.”

They also revealed that they spent a lot of time with Tillman at the NFL combine and that gave them “a really good feel for him,” calling him a “consummate pro.”

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