Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 175 pounds
School: Oklahoma Sooners
Dede Westbrook 2017 NFL Draft Profile
It is not just his blistering speed and ability to create a mismatch in the slot that makes Dede Westbrook one of the top receiving prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft. Often overlooked at the expense of talented stars such as Mike Williams and Corey Davis, Westbrook has shown over his two years in Oklahoma that he not only has the potential to develop into one of the top receivers in the NFL, but the skill set to help him get there.
In his senior year, Westbrook hauled in 80 receptions for 1,524 yards and 17 touchdowns. Not only does he posses the route running savvy to make big plays, but the initiative to explode for yards after the catch on deep balls downfield. The 2016 Heisman Trophy finalist has continually progressed throughout his collegiate career, and was dubbed one of the 10 Biggest Risers in the 2017 NFL Draft Class’.
Westbrook has the ability to use his quick feet to uncover himself and has an excellent skill at reading opposing cornerbacks. His impressive speed is not only useful for deep balls, but Westbrook also has the capability to be an impressive kick/punt returner. Recording a punt return for a touchdown and a kick return for 63 yards in 2016, Westbrook can utilize his skills to drift past opposing defenders. Perhaps his most desirable asset for NFL teams, Westbrook has the ability to gain an early edge against defenders in man coverage, and has the ability to get open for the pass on any play.
The main concern for NFL teams when choosing whether or not to draft Westbrook, is his size. Standing at 6’0″, Westbrook has a thin frame and weighs in at just 175 pounds. Problems could arise at NFL level for Westbrook when taking on larger, stronger and more agile defensive players. The size of NFL defenders could also prove an issue for Westbrook when it comes to contested catches, with the receiver not possessing to size or weight go up for 50/50 balls.
Another issue for Westbrook is the lack of opposition talent he faced during his collegiate career. In addition, opposing corners often allowed Westbrook the leverage he needed to get open for big plays, with the receiver not generating enough plays for himself. In the one game where Westbrook did face elite competition against Ohio State; he was held to just 51 yards on five receptions without a touchdown.
- Commendable speed and acceleration;
- Dangerous after the catch;
- Can create a mismatch in the slot;
- Uses quick feet to uncover himself;
- Great at reading opposing corners;
- Solid kick/punt returner;
- Gains the upper hand well in man coverage.
- Thin frame can be an issue at NFL level;
- Production enhanced by poor opponents;
- Becomes complacent with simple routes;
- Could struggle with contested catches;
- NFL defenders will have a better edge over him.
NFL Comparison: Will Fuller
Teams With Need at Position: Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projection: Mid-second round
There is no doubting that Westbrook has the right skills set to be a top receiver in the NFL. With impressive speed, high in-game intelligence and explosive plays after the catch, Westbrook resembles some of the very best. However, with a less than impressive frame, Westbrook could face a challenge from more experienced corners. Consequently, his size will not only impact the plays he can make but could distinguish his role on a team. With other talented receivers also available in the upcoming draft, it is likely that Westbrook will have to wait to get his call up to the NFL.