Oct 29, 2016; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Dede Westbrook (11) returns a punt for a touchdown against the Kansas Jayhawks during the first quarter at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
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Dede Westbrook
Dede Westbrook has a chance to be a big-play receiver in the NFL.

Dede Westbrook may be the hottest receiver in college football right now – being named a Heisman finalist is incredible and has brought a lot of attention towards him. He has delivered an outstanding season for the Oklahoma Sooners and had 74 receptions for 1465 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns, with 19.8(!) yards per reception. Since Week 3 and the Ohio State

Since Week 3 and the Ohio State game, he has had at least one receptions each game over 40 yards, with 67, 71, 88, 65, 75 and 69 being 6 receptions in six different games. It goes without saying he is a deep threat.

A 6’0″ 175-pound receiver, Dede is on the light side. He has a very light frame and does need to put on weight. His physicality at 175 is rather impressive, holding onto the ball and making contested catches (vs Ohio State (different angle) and Texas), however, don’t expect him to hold onto the ball over the middle as he doesn’t have the top-level physicality to catch everything in traffic. Being 6’0″ 175 pounds means he’ll play for the most part out of the slot, but he can also

Being 6’0″ 175 pounds means he’ll play for the most part out of the slot, but he can also line up on the outside. Does have effort as a blocker, but his blocks don’t stick due to the lack of physicality. Didn’t see too many reps against press coverage, but couldn’t really get separation when defensive backs could get their hands on him and push him off his route. He’ll also need to work on his release and footwork to play on the outside consistently, as he a few release moves and footwork in need for improvement.

Dede Westbrook is a playmaker. There is no secret about it, he torches defenses. Doesn’t look like he has the DeShaun Jackson or Will Fuller type of speed, but I expect him to run in the low 4.40s. Wins downfield by having tremendous acceleration and tracks the ball at an elite level. His concentration level is very impressive combined with great hands. This Jordy Nelson-esque play where he snags the ball and gets his feet down is one of Dede’s better traits. As a playmaker, you’d expect him to get a lot of yards after the catch, which he does. Dede is deadly when he can accelerate and use his speed. Doesn’t have the top tier shiftiness (fairly average for an explosive player), but his patience and acceleration makes him a bit threat on jet sweeps, wide receiver

Dede is deadly when he can accelerate and use his speed. Doesn’t have the top tier shiftiness (fairly average for an explosive player), but his patience and acceleration makes him a bit threat on jet sweeps, wide receiver screens, and slants. Returns kicks as well and is more of the type to accelerate in the open field than to slash a defense. He also extends plays at a high level, and due to his chemistry with fellow Heisman finalist Baker Mayfield, he does a good job helping his QB out. Works the sticks well and I see him have similar success in the NFL.

What Dede Westbrook needs to work on as a pro is his footwork and route running. He is obviously not a bad route runner, but he does have struggles to get separation on the outside, especially on back shoulder fades and against better cornerbacks. This play against Ohio State he has his head turned around and knows the ball is coming, despite that he doesn’t sell the back shoulder good enough, and even with a low throw Dede’s timing isn’t where you’d want it. This play (also against Ohio State) is another example of him rounding out his routes instead which cornerbacks will feast on, especially with how obvious he makes it he is cutting out. Now Mayfield’s throw isn’t terrific, but Dede has got to do a better job at selling the route. A few other examples against Ohio State, Texas and WVU are examples where he’ll be covered 10/10 times in the NFL and get

Now Mayfield’s throw isn’t terrific, but Dede has got to do a better job at selling the route. A few other examples against Ohio State, Texas and WVU are examples where he’ll be covered 10/10 times in the NFL and get undercut. Throw in some head fakes, sell his routes with his hips and Dede can be a very effective slot receiver. He struggles the most against off man coverage, while he has great zone recognition. He finds the soft spot in zone and if he has the timing with his quarterback plays like this will happen.
Overall I think Dede Westbrook has the talents to be a WR2 in the NFL. Is a good athlete, with great balance, coordination and awareness down the sideline. Has soft hands, and big play ability. Not as explosive as a Will Fuller or as shifty as a Tyreek Hill, but Dede does have a bright future ahead of him. Is a fairly polished player, and can be a day one contributor. Expect Dede’s name to be called on day two, and should have most success if he can play opposite a Dez Bryant/A.J. Green type receiver. I personally see him primarily a slot receiver, but he’ll get his chances on the outside. His deep threat speed will attract a lot of attention, and will be golden against a single high safety where the quarterback draws the safety over to the other side before chucking it deep to a Westbrook with excellent concentration and ball skills down field. A senior bowl invite, we will get to see more of him in different looks there which could boost his stock.

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