There are hundreds of stories being told during the planning and anticipation of the 2017 NFL Draft. Today we will be looking at a scouting report for senior wideout Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma Sooner.
WR-Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma 6’ 178 lbs.
Westbrook is an exciting playmaker, who comes with some serious baggage to be discussed a little later. He turned down an opportunity to play with Texas State to play for the small football school of Blinn College; where the receiver caught 76 passes for 1487 yards and 13 touchdowns. After a year of transition to Oklahoma, the senior playmaker had a monster season: 80 receptions for 1524 yards along with 17 touchdowns (scored at least one the last ten games) and rushed ten times for 101 yards. Because I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, let’s break down what I saw in the five games I reviewed of the senior playmaker: 2016 contests versus Texas, Ohio State, Kansas State, and Baylor along with another game against Texas (2015). Most of these game videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. These are my thoughts:
Cons: Here is another Sooner athlete with character concerns. Westbrook reportedly threw the mother of his two children to the ground in 2012 and then hit her with a closed fist in 2013. In May 2016, the wideout was arrested for trespassing in his hometown at a home where there had been a prior “altercation”. He was allowed to participate in the NFL Combine, but chose to workout at the Oklahoma pro day instead as perhaps some solidarity move towards fellow Sooner, Joe Mixon. Reports varied, but said the young man did not do well in his team interviews. Physically, Westbrook has skinny legs with a slight frame; this makes him more likely to get knocked around by the more physical defensive backs he will face at the next level. The receiver rarely faced press coverage at the collegiate level and saw mostly one on one coverage. Chances are that he will always be disrupted off the line and see over the top coverage from a free safety in the NFL, will that impede him? The diminutive wideout isn’t much of a run blocker either and has Lil’ Wayne’s agency as his representation; it’s safe to say neither of those things will help him as well.
Pros: Westbrook is very fast, which his 4.34 40 time at his pro day atests. He is explosive in/out of cuts, runs good routes, possesses cat-like balance, and has strong hands. The wideout is a willing receiver in the middle of the field; it’s as if he doesn’t realize how thin he is while fighting for extra yardage. The former Sooner shows off his explosiveness/burst on short screens, weaving in between defenders while reading blockers downfield. The receiver lined up a lot outside, but got sent in motion for either jet sweeps where he got the pigskin or fake handoffs that turned into short screens to him. Get Westbrook in the open, he would use his loose hips, spins, and hurdles to create space between himself and the defense. On longer routes, the playmaker tracks the ball well deep, adjusts his body to make the catch without breaking stride while getting behind his defender. The former Oklahoma speedster has a good catch radius and likes to snare the pigskin at its highest point showing good concentration.
Overall impressions: As an athlete, Westbrook is an exciting prospect with tons of upside. His off-field issues are quite concerning and how he dealt with them at the Combine in team interviews might be a concern. The opportunity might not be so bright for this young man, especially since he rarely faced press and double coverage in his collegiate career. His stat line against Ohio State, five receptions for 51 yards, might be closer to the norm since they did employ press and double coverage against him. Perhaps the young playmaker will get used more in the returner role and in the slot so he can himself get into space easier. I certainly think he is talented enough to succeed in the NFL and currently rank him as my 8th best fantasy rookie receiver.
Thanks for reading. I will continue to discuss my scouting reports with you throughout the next month or so, please keep checking the site for more of my content. You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley. As I am an independent writer, support my efforts using the PayPal link on the bottom of the main page.