Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Player Personnel Glenn Cook & Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Football Operations Catherine Raiche (4.28.23)

Opening statement:

Cook: “Really excited to have him (WR Cedric Tillman) on our team. You never know how it falls, so we worked through scenarios where he would be there and really looking forward to adding his size, his ability. We obviously feel really good about this addition.”


Raiche: “I’m super excited to add (WR) Cedric (Tillman). Great person, good player. It’ll be another tool in our toolbox for (QB) Deshaun (Watson), so very excited with the addition.”


On if the pick was to keep supplying Watson with weapons:

Cook: “Yeah, I mean, it’s a blend of few things. I think we understand how important it is to have a really strong passing attack just to balance out, obviously, (RB) Nick (Chubb), who’s one of the best backs in the league, so that was in consideration. Also, just as the board falls, you want to make sure you’re considering the best talent available and Tillman is definitely in that conversation, so we’re really excited to, first, kind of just add the talent and then the added bonus of someone who can enhance our passing attack.”

On if they were looking for eyes over speed at WR:

Cook: “I wouldn’t say that’s the distinction that we made. I would say that’s definitely his strength. He’s a big dude, 6-3, 215, but I wouldn’t say he doesn’t have the ability to contribute on all three levels to get behind DBs and make plays down the field. I wouldn’t say we made a tradeoff in terms of size versus speed, but that’s definitely his strength.”

On if Tillman can help in the red zone:

Raiche: “Absolutely, he can help us. As Glenn mentioned, I think he’s going to be able to help us there, but also on all three levels. He’s run a ton of comeback routes in his career. He can create separation on the intermediate level, as well. We just feel that he’s going to be able to help in many ways.

On how concerned the team is in his medicals:

Cook: “Yeah, we did our work. We definitely did our research in that area and give him a lot of credit, which speaks to just his makeup, the kid battled to get back. He probably could have just kind of held himself out, but I think he wanted to contribute to a really successful team in Tennessee and maybe not have as much on-field statistical production, but still be a part of their high-power success. Obviously, we consider all those things when we’re making decisions and we felt pretty good about it.


On going up to get the ball in college:

Raiche: “Yeah, definitely a piece of the puzzle. Surehanded, and really someone that’s going to be able to come down with the football and help us make a play on offense.”

On how tempting it was to get a DE in that spot:

Cook: “Felt pretty good as it played out when you got to probably three or four picks before we were on the clock. Just our options there. Ultimately, we ended up really feeling good about Cedric being the choice, but we felt good about how the board sat once were sitting at 74.”

On what stood out about Tillman:

Cook: “I think you’ve heard what coach said, smart, tough, accountable. I think that’s what I was referencing in my thought process. He plays to his size. He’s a big, physical young man. He does not say much, per se, but it jumps out on the film. Just his size and the way he makes plays on defenders down the field. When I speak to that, that’s what I was speaking to.”


On the biggest edge Cedric had over Jalin Hyatt:

Cook “I don’t know if we considered an edge, per say. Two pretty talented guys. I think Jimmy Haslam is pretty excited to have the compliments that they brought to their offense and I think the league saw similar of the fact they went off the board right behind each other. Again, Cedric has his strengths and Hyatt is a really talented player, as well. I wouldn’t say there was a particular edge.”


On how many receivers are too many:

Raiche: “I don’t know if there is such thing to be honest with you. We are always looking for competition in the room. We’re looking to put the best players on the field and give as many weapons as we can to our quarterback.”


On how important having different body types at receiver is:

Raiche: “I think when we think about it from a draft perspective, we’re really just trying to acquire the best talent available. However that falls at the pick that we’re picking, that’s what we’re going to go for. Now, having some diversity and looking at different skillsets definitely helps. But again, when we think about our board and where it fell, it’s really about acquiring the best talent that is out there.”


On the SEC pedigree:

Cook: “I think when you talk about his toughness and his competitiveness, I think we understand all the talent that is in this league in the secondary. It’s not going to come easy to you and he expressed some of the potential to really compete downfield and use his ability to make plays and contest situations. The margins are thin and I think he showed the ability to make plays in that way.”


On how much of an adjustment there will be compared to what was run at Tennessee:

Cook: “That’s a good question. It’s definitely something you consider. You know, they do a really good job of putting their guys in position to make plays and utilize all their tools. I think we have faith that (HC) Kevin (Stefanski) can do the same thing. I think all college players, especially at the receiver position, there is a learning curve and it takes them a little bit of time to transition at times. We feel good about his makeup and feel good about what he can do. It may not be seamless. We’ll see. We’re not concerned about the transition.”


On what it was like waiting for 73 guys to go off the board before making a pick:

Raiche: “It was definitely worth the wait. We had our strategy going in and we were not just sitting there, we were really looking at different scenarios. Whether it would be to go up or down, and really kind of figuring out however the board falls and what we were planning on doing. Excited to finally make that pick.”


On how big of a learning curve they are anticipating with Cedric:

Cook: “Yeah, I think we’re comfortable, starting with CO (Chad O’Shea), who we think is a really talented receiver coach. AVP (Alex Van Pelt). Kevin. I think we’re comfortable with the abilities we have on that side of the football to make his onboarding process as seamless as we can. You never know. We believe in his ability to learn the game, he is a smart young man. He works really, really hard, so I do not think we have significant concerns on his ability to transition. Again, we’ll see. He has to go out and compete, but we believe it’s in him.”


On his father playing in the NFL and his background story:

Cook: “I think just the beauty of who he is, I guess. I think we had a chance to meet with him at the combine, have him in for a 30 visit. Obviously, we have strong ties to the University of Tennessee. I went to two games this year, so had a lot of opportunity to just be around the young man. He’s just, first and foremost, an exceptional individual. He’s a work-first-speak-second-type-of person. All of those things, really, are more appealing than what he can do on the field, first and foremost. Just what he’s going to bring, I think we’re really excited about that.


On if he can be a No. 1 WR in the NFL:

Cook: “It’s in him. We’ll see. I don’t have a crystal ball on that. You know, we  believe in what he can do and coach is going to utilize him to the best of his ability and we’ll make sure we maximize what he can do.”


On him lining up primarily on the right side in Tennessee’s offense and how it factors into the evaluation process:

Raîche: “When we go through the evaluation process for these guys, we look at everything. So we definitely look at all the information that’s out there. Now, how that’s going to translate and how we’re going to use him at the next level, that’s something we leave up to our coaches and our coaches are going to make sure that they maximize just the glance point, maximize their strength and put these guys in the best position to develop and succeed.”


On his route running ability? 

Raîche: “Well, as we mentioned, that’s a guy that we think can make plays down the field. That’s a guy that did come down with the ball in contested situations on the third level and he’s a guy who can help us in the red zone. As I mentioned earlier, that’s also a guy that runs a ton of curls and that can get open at the top of routes and on the intermediate level. So really, that’s someone that we feel good about the overall skillset, ability to run the routes that our coaches are going to want to put in the game plan and be successful.”


On how the other wide receivers can help him:

Cook: “You know, I think we’re fortunate to have someone like (WR) Amari (Cooper), and honestly, even like (WR) Elijah (Moore). Different types of competitors, but  I think when you have two guys like that in the room, and some of the other players we have in the group, it’s about competition. I think those guys, they’ll raise the game of each other, but it’s definitely awesome to have it got like Amari setting the example for how to approach the game of football as a receiver”


On if he can you play inside:

Cook: “I think Kevin will find a way to use him. I think we’re still working through how we want to deploy everyone on offense. I think Kevin will, like I said before, put him in the best positions for him to make plays and help us.”


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