please note that the author of the following article is legally blind
First things first. I will open this article by bringing attention (as I have whenever the subject of a former Sooner possibly heading to the Chiefs comes up) to my unapologetic homerism (which is a word I just made up)
Yes, I always want to see a former Sooner replace his crimson and cream with red and gold, but know and believe me, regardless of any “homerism” I might harbor and shamelessly display, I would never bang the drum for us to go out and get a player unless I felt he would be a good fit for the Chiefs. I will never push for a player to join the Chiefs and help us stack up some more super bowl victories, simply based on where he played college ball.
Now that I have put that PSA out there, lets talk about why the Chiefs should sign free agent Dede Westbrook.
Westbrook had his humble beginnings in the year 2015, where he attended, you guessed it, Oklahoma University. He started all 13 games where he caught 46 passes for 743 yards and 4 TDs, but he became OU’s #1 wide receiver in his senior year of 2016, when he broke a record against Texas, when he logged 232 receiving yards in a single game.
That year he lead the Big 12 conference with 1,524 receiving yards and 17 receiving TDs. He was the only non-quarterback besides Jabrill Peppers to be a Heisman finalist that year.
Westbrook would go on to be drafted in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL draft with the 110th overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars. His numbers during the 2017 season were not exactly eye-popping mostly due to an injury he sustained early on in the season and there were concerns about his off-field character which was the reason for his fall to the 4th round.
Despite that, Westbrook showed flashes as a rookie and improved drastically in 2018. In week 2 of the 2018 season against the Patriots, he recorded a 61-yard TD reception during the 31-20 victory.
During week 4, in a victory over the Jets, he clocked his career high of 9 receptions for 130 receiving yards.
During week 15 against the team formerly known as the Redskins, he recorded a 74-yard punt return for a TD.
He would end up leading the Jags in receptions, yards, and TDs in 2018.
During the first few weeks of the 2019 season, he was fairly quiet, but Westbrook would still end up making the most out of his 2019 season, finishing with a second straight 60-catch season.
During the 2020 season, he would suffer a torn ACL, and spend the majority of the year on the injured reserve list.
The KC Chiefs should consider Dede Westbrook
To answer whether or not the Chiefs should sign him, would the Chiefs sign him thinking he would turn into another Tyreek Hill? Of course not, but could they sign him as a viable replacement for Sammy Watkins who has departed for the Baltimore Ravens? Absolutely.
I agree that there does seem to be some issues when it comes to staying healthy, so the Chiefs would just have to hope that his durability isn’t a detractor, which is why signing him to a low contract, perhaps for a year to see how he works out, would be the more prudent action.
While looking at his numbers I have listed above does not make him look terribly productive, I think those stats should be taken with a grain of salt as the team he was playing for and the quarterback throwing him the ball should all be taken into account.
I guess the point I am trying to make by giving you all this info, is that we know he was productive in college but I know, I know, this is a “what have you done for me lately” league, but in the two years he played healthy, Westbrook did produce at a consistent level with flashes of brilliance in between, and that was with an average to below average organization with average to below average quarterbacks throwing him the ball. Imagine what a receiver even as good as Westbrook could do with the Kansas City Chiefs, with the mad scientist Andy Reid drawing up plays and Patrick Mahomes passing him the ball.
Like I said, he wouldn’t be another Tyreek Hill, but the Chiefs wouldn’t expect him to be and wouldn’t need him to be.
As long as he stays healthy, he could turn out to be just as productive as a Sammy Watkins or a Demarcus Robinson if not more so and just provide competition for the rest of the receivers already on roster. He could also push Mecole Hardman as they both have some similarities and Westbrook can return kicks.
I think it would certainly be worth the Chiefs time to give him a call and see if he is busy next year and would he like to go win a super bowl.