34-Year-Old Cornerback – Carolina Panthers
2015 Fantasy Football Outlook
Tillman signed a one-year contract with the Panthers this offseason after playing a combined 10 games for the Bears over the previous two campaigns, which were both shortened by a torn right triceps. ...
Charles Tillman Contract Information:
Signed a one-year deal with the Panthers in April of 2015.
Tillman (knee) will have surgery to repair his torn ACL on Wednesday, the Charlotte Observer reports.
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Charles Tillman: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Exclusive Fantasy Analysis (FREE PREVIEW)Tillman was playing with a partially torn ACL, knowing that he could suffer a full tear at any moment. It finally happened in Week 17, leaving the Carolina secondary without two of its top three cornerbacks for the playoffs, as Bene Benwikere suffered a broken leg in Week 14. Robert McClain will likely be the new starter across from Josh Norman, with Cortland Finnegan serving as the nickelback. Set to turn 35 in February, Tillman will likely give some thought to retirement despite proving that he's still a starting-caliber player. If he does decide to come back, he'll face a serious challenge to be ready by Week 1. Either way, he'll be universally regarded as one of his generation's top defensive backs, likely garnering serious consideration for the Hall of Fame.
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Injuries appear to be the only thing that can stop Tillman from posting elite IDP numbers. A knee injury cost him one game before a triceps injury ended his season later on, but Tillman still managed to post 42 tackles (33 solo), three interceptions and three forced fumbles in just eight games. He averaged 89 tackles, 3.7 interceptions and 1.7 touchdowns per season in the three years prior, and he's one of the absolute best players of all time at forcing fumbles. He has 42 forced fumbles in his 11-year career, including 34 in his last seven seasons. He'll return as a full-time corner this year for Chicago, and so long as he avoids injury troubles, he should provide at least DB2 utility.
Tillman was nothing less than amazing in 2012, forcing 10 fumbles while taking three interceptions back for touchdowns. Neither stat was entirely unprecedented for him – he returned two interceptions for touchdowns in 2011 and forced six fumbles back in 2009 – but some regression almost certainly has to occur. Tillman has stats to burn, though, and even if his numbers take a big step back, he'll still be plenty useful. Give him a boost in the rankings if your league rewards for forced fumbles – he has 39 of those in his career.
Tillman has been a superb playmaker for the entirety of his nine-year career, but he might have had his best showing yet in 2011. He defended 12 passes, including three interceptions (two of which were returned for touchdowns) while adding 99 tackles (82 solo), one sack and four forced fumbles. He is arguably as great a turnover threat as any cornerback in the league, as he boasts an average of 3.3 interceptions, 3.2 forced fumbles and 10.7 passes defended per season despite missing 14 games in his career. And five of those interceptions went for touchdowns. Durability is the only concern with Tillman – he’s a reliable bet to miss a game or two most years – but he remains a talented and effective player in a scheme that suits his skills perfectly. His value is further solidified by the pass-happy nature of the NFC North. Two matchups each with Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford means the Bears will see a lot of pass attempts and a lot of tackle opportunities in the secondary.
Tillman only has two 16-game seasons in his eight-year career – his rookie year and last year – but his knack for finding the football makes him a top IDP option despite the injury concern. In fact, the only year Tillman failed to reach 75 tackles was 2004 when he played just eight games. His highly reliable tackle production is supplemented by his unique big-play ability, especially his knack for forcing fumbles. While his 23 interceptions and three touchdowns from the last six years are impressive, his 22 forced fumbles in that same span might be even more so. His skill set as an attack-style corner is a perfect fit for Chicago’s cover-2 defense. Add it all up, and Tillman offers both a high floor and a high ceiling, even with the durability issues.
Tillman had another solid year in 2009, recording 77 tackles, two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), and six forced fumbles. Tillman did suffer broken ribs and a punctured lung that forced him to miss the season finale, but he has fully recovered and will be fine for the 2010 season. Now that he's healthy, Tillman will resume his role as starting cornerback opposite Zach Bowman.
Tillman had another solid, steady season for the Bears, racking up 93 tackles and three interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Tillman isn't a shutdown corner, but he's very physical, which fits right into the Bears' style of play. He's a noted ballhawk, and routinely among the top tackling defensive backs. Expect another season of the status quo out of Peanut.
Tillman had a drop in production in 2007 due to ankle problems, but should be able to bounce back. From 2005-2006, Tillman averaged five INTs and 88 tackles. The Bears' defensive unit failed to dominate like in years past which helped factor into Tillman's decline. Expect him to bounce back.
Much like blondes, cornerbacks in the cover 2 have more fun. Because they can pass off receivers to their safeties, they remain close to the line of scrimmage and have far more run support and blitz responsibilities than corners in other schemes. With great burst and a mean streak, the big and tough Tillman excels in taking on the run. That's translated to 80-plus total tackles when he plays at least 14 games. He uses his hands well to bump receivers at the line and to make plays on the ball, using that same quality closing burst. But for 2004, in which he played just eight games, Tillman has never failed to make at least four interceptions. If this sounds a lot like the formula that made cover 2 corners like Ronde Barber and Antoine Winfield stars, you've got the right idea.
Tillman is on the Ronde Barber career track. Like Barber, he plays in a Cover 2 scheme, which means he often lets receivers in deep routes go to the safeties and instead takes shorter routes or supports the run. It takes an aggressive player with range and great open-field tackling ability, and that’s Tillman. He logged 76 solo tackles, a sack and four picks in his rookie year, then missed half of 2004 with a broken leg. He certainly proved he was back in 2005. His stats came in 15 games, so while he ranked second among defensive backs for total points at year’s end, his per-game points average was the highest at the position. He missed Week 17 (but played well in the playoffs) due to chronic shoulder separation issues that were fixed this year in offseason surgery. He’s expected to be fine for mini-camps, not to mention training camp, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. He also drew criticism for being burnt early last season on a number of touchdown strikes, so he needs to fend off free agent signee Ricky Manning this summer.
Tillman put together a fine rookie campaign of 76 tackles, one sack and four picks in 2003 but sustained a hairline fracture of the tibia last year and played just eight games. Connective tissue injuries often mean reduced effectiveness thereafter, but broken bones are another story, and Tillman can be expected back at his previous level of effectiveness. He’ll use his speed and size at what he’s good at: open field tackling. His coverage skills have sufficient holes that quarterbacks won’t have a problem throwing at him, but Tillman’s playmaking ability will take over once the ball is in the air.
Tillman made an immediate impact last year, becoming the first rookie to lead the team in interceptions since 1990. He's Chicago's top corner.
A second-round draft pick, Tillman figures to make more of an impact on special teams than at cornerback.