The Jaguars fourth round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft came with heavy criticism from the draft community due to his run-ins with domestic violence. But the Jaguars appear to have struck gold by selecting Dede Westbrook in the fourth round.
He burst onto the NFL scene during the preseason - he led the entire league in receiving yardage during the exhibition period, but suffered a core muscle injury that required surgery and was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return.
Westbrook was able to make his debut in week 11 against the Browns. Despite sloppy weather conditions the rookie WR was able to make an impact in his first NFL game. He hauled in three passes for 35 yards, including a 28 yard catch down the field. Westbrook also showed his awareness and body control on a catch that was wrongfully ruled an incompletion on the sideline late in that game. He showed great promise in that contest.
But over the last two weeks Westbrook has been a major factor in the Jaguars offense. Against the Cardinals and Colts he was targeted a combined 19 times, hauling in 12 catches for 119 yards. He's quickly emerged as a favorite target for Blake Bortles and is in line for a strong finish to 2017. If you average out his stats after three games into a 16 game season Westbrook would be on pace for 80 catches!
The skills he's displayed in his short time on the Jaguars active roster have been tremendous. Speed, elusiveness, route running, strong hands, and great body control have all been put on display by Dede.
With Allen Robinson out for the year and Allen Hurns still not practicing Dede Westbrook appears ready to continue to see his role expand in the Jaguars offense.
He has the skills to deliver and should be an integral part of the Jaguars offense for the remainder of 2017 and beyond.
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