Football

NFL Combine will test Dede Westbrook on and off the field

OU's DeDe Westbrook out to prove he can back up the flamboyance with performance

Loud and fun on the outside, Oklahoma's DeDe Westbrook eyes opportunity to join another family in the NFL with hard work coming from the inside.
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Loud and fun on the outside, Oklahoma's DeDe Westbrook eyes opportunity to join another family in the NFL with hard work coming from the inside.

Whatever numbers Oklahoma’s Dede Westbrook posts this weekend at the NFL Combine, perhaps his biggest hurdle will be the league’s interview process.

Pulling out of the Senior Bowl created some disappointment among league teams and in December, Tulsa World brought to light two family-violence complaints that Westbrook was arrested for in 2012 and 2013.

Reports show he was never convicted and in one case no charges were brought.

When teams dig deeper, that will be the test, and he’s got to have some answers to these questions.

CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler

But NFL coaches, general managers and investigators are under public pressure to pursue complete information on potential pre-existing legal trouble for players the league brings in and will most certainly attempt to get to the bottom of it.

“The interview process will be paramount for him,” CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler said. “He’s had a couple of run-ins, and so far, it’s nothing that would take him off the board.

“But when teams dig deeper, that will be the test, and he’s got to have some answers to these questions.”

The wide receivers report to the combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday. Interviews will be held the first three days, with the on-field workouts Saturday.

Oklahoma WR Dede Westbrook, along with other college football players headed to the NFL combine, are preparing at APEC, a new top tier training facility in west Fort Worth.

What Westbrook doesn’t have to answer to is the production on the field.

He was a dynamic playmaker last season, catching 80 passes for 1,524 yards, 17 touchdowns and an average of 19.1 yards per catch.

That effort made him one of five finalists for the Heisman Trophy.

Still, while at APEC Fort Worth last week to sharpen up for his combine workout, Westbrook said there’s a number of on-field things that he can get better at in increasing his draft stock.

“I think you can always get better in your route running,” he said. “That’s why you come to a place like this, to get your footwork right, your agility and my lateral movement.

“All of those things help you get into your releases better and then the route concepts. I think one of the big things though is creating better separation. If you can do that, once the football is there, it’s about doing what I do after I catch the ball.”

Brugler said a player such as Westbrook, though, has a set of expectations from scouts coming into the combine.

“This is a player we haven’t seen since the season ended,” Brugler said. “The expectation is that he’ll run a 40 around 4.38 to 4.44 range and then with his yards-per-catch average, you know he’s a vertical threat, but what’s he going to weigh, has he improved on his ability to change directions?”

Westbrook said the biggest adjustments he’s made is recognizing the difference in amateur football versus what’s expected in a professional setting.

“I think in college, they just ask you to work on things as it pertains to an upcoming season,” Westbrook said. “But now, it’s very specific and you’ve got little building blocks here that get your ready for the combine.

“But at the same time, after all of this, it’s time for football.”

2017 NFL Draft

The NFL Draft will be April 27-29 in Philadelphia. The first round is April 27, second and third rounds April 28, and fourth through seventh April 29. Here’s the first-round order:

1. Cleveland

2. San Francisco

3. Chicago

4. Jacksonville

5. Tennessee (from L.A. Rams)

6. New York Jets

7. San Diego Chargers

8. Carolina

9. Cincinnati

10. Buffalo

11. New Orleans

12. Cleveland (from Philadelphia)

13. Arizona

14.* Indianapolis

15.* Philadelphia (from Minnesota)

16. Baltimore

17. Washington

18. Tennessee

19. Tampa Bay

20. Denver

21. Detroit

22. Miami

23. New York Giants

24. Oakland

25. Houston

26. Seattle

27. Kansas City

28. Dallas Cowboys

29. Green Bay Packers

30. Pittsburgh Steelers

31. Atlanta Falcons

32. New England Patriots

*14th and 15th positions will be determined by a coin flip.

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