After the Jaguars picked receiver Dede Westbrook in the fourth round of the draft, ESPN’s Todd McShay said a team kicked Westbrook out of one of the 15-minute Scouting Combine interviews.
Westbrook denies that.
“I don’t think I was necessarily kicked out of a Combine interview,” Westbrook told reporters after he was picked.
Asked more broadly what happened, Westbrook said, “I have no idea. I’m not aware of that.”
G.M. Dave Caldwell separately said Westbrook has “no margin for error” regarding off-field issues, and Westbrook agrees.
“At the end of the day that’s up to me, and I’ve overcome adversity many times in my life and it’s just another chance for me to overcome it,” Westbrook said. “I thank the Jacksonville Jaguars for giving me the opportunity to do that in their organization.”
Caldwell added that Westbrook likely will play in the slot, and that he could have the same type of role as 2016 Chiefs draft pick Tyreek Hill.
“This is a guy that was a Biletnikoff Award winner, fourth in the Heisman running, averaged 18 yards per catch,” Caldwell said. “He is a punt returner. He is a dynamic athlete, speed and with the ball in his hands. Sitting there in the fourth round, he was a guy sticking out there on the board.”
So how did they get past the off-field issues, which included multiple allegations of criminal wrongdoing?
“We did a lot of work on it,” Caldwell said. “All the way back to his high school days. We have some really good sources there at Oklahoma that I have known for a long period of time. The football aspect of it is really good. Obviously he has had some issues early in his career. We feel that is behind and that has to be behind him.”
Caldwell sounds comfortable with the potential for scrutiny arising from the decision to pick Westbrook.
“I think we have done our due diligence enough to realize that is behind him and that, like we said, all of those charges were dropped,” Caldwell said. “I think we all have been accused of things, not all of us, but many of us have been accused of things. We don’t take it lightly. Obviously it is a serious issue, and we just feel like at this point in time to give the kid a chance to make it right.”
If he doesn’t, he won’t be in Jacksonville for long. And the Jaguars will have wasted a fourth-round pick.