Dede Westbrook: The Jacksonville Jaguars MVP of 2018
By David Levin
Wide receiver Dede Westbrook of the Jacksonville Jaguars has been the team’s most consistent player on the offensive side of the ball this season.
If you want to know who is the offensive MVP for the Jacksonville Jaguars, look no further than No. 12 in your media guides. No one has shown more heart on that side of the ball than wide receiver Dede Westbrook, who leads the team with 56 receptions for 662 yards and five touchdowns.
While the offense has been poor and the effort has been less than stellar, Westbrook, a fourth-round pick last season, has come to play every game and has given everything on the football field.
When the Jaguars open the game on Sunday at Miami, Westbrook will be on the outside looking to make a play in the open field. Or, he could line up in the slot. Or, he could take the call on an end-around for a big gain. If that isn’t enough, the former Oklahoma All-American could return a punt for a touchdown just like he did last week in the 16-13 loss to Washington.
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Westbrook is all over the field for the Jaguars, which makes him the most valuable player on offense right now. At the beginning of the season, it was Leonard Fournette who grabbed all the attention from the media and fans. Now, the talented pass catcher is getting his fair share of praise from the coaching staff, especially head coach Doug Marrone.
From the first day of training camp, Marrone said he saw a maturity in his young star that has carried over into the season. With Marqise Lee out from the start of the season with a knee injury, it has been Westbrook who has stepped forward and taken the reins as leader of the unit.
"“I think that started last year when they first reported. The way he went about himself, I think you saw that early on,” Marrone told the media on Friday.“Obviously, it was able to carry over to the field where he has been able to make plays and has done a nice job and just continues to work hard every week and really tries to take care of himself, tries to take care of his body. He’s real durable.”"
At 6-foot and 178 pounds, Westbrook looks wafer thin, but he continues to endure punishment on the NFL level. His speed in the open field and ability to separate from defensive backs has gotten better as the season has progressed.
"“He’s gotten some big shots that we have all seen in games and has been able to pop up and go… I still see him growing each and every day into a good pro,” Marrone added."
Aside from what Westbrook has done on the field this season, the wide receivers have been anything but special. It was first thought this could be a unit that surprises many teams, but the lack of productivity and the number of dropped passes have plagued this team all year long.
the Jaguars group of wide receivers figures to look a lot different next season, with Westbrook and Lee the only ones guaranteed a spot on the roster. As long as he continues to make plays and learn from game to game, he could become one of the top targets in the league.
Of course, Jacksonville must find an adequate quarterback to get him the ball. If that happens, Westbrook could challenge for a Pro Bowl berth next season.