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Dede Westbrook NFL’s career gets off to solid start

Jacksonville Jaguars v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Jacksonville Jaguars fourth round pick Dede Westbrook made his official NFL debut in Sunday’s 19-7 win over the Cleveland Browns, after spending most of the 2017 season on injured reserve with a hernia. Westbrook was a Heisman finalist and an explosive playmaker for Oklahoma at wide receiver while in college, which carried over into the NFL preseason where Westbrook routinely made big plays down the field.

There was a lot of excitement about Westbrook’s return to a Jaguars lineup that had been ravaged by injuries at receiver. Westbrook made an impact early with a deep catch, but his overall numbers were probably a lot lower than fans had hoped.

“I liked his effort. I really did. I thought he did a nice job in the blocking aspect of it,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said on Monday when he met with the media. “I mean, they were physical in the back end. He came in there and I was impressed. I think it’s a good start and now he has to keep building on that and I think he’ll get better and better each time he’s out there. I thought it was a good start, though.”

Westbrook ended the day with three receptions for 35 yards, most of which came on a 28-yard reception early in the game. Westbrook also had a fumble late that thankfully went out of bounds and stayed the Jaguars football. It was clear Westbrook as a knack for making big plays down the field, as he should have had another longer reception on the sideline, however on review the NFL decided that no one has any idea what a catch is and decided not to overturn what should have been a reception.

“Yeah, I looked at it. It’s hard to tell on our tape, but I was told on the sideline that it wasn’t the feet, it was the actual catch,” Marrone said when asked about the Westbrook non-catch on Monday. “They told me the ball was moving.”

While Westbrook’s day fell short of his 200 yard proclamation, it’s clear that he’s going to add another dimension to the Jaguars passing game that they’ve desperately needed.