NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein is constantly talking to NFL and college sources about players in the college game. In this space each week, Zierlein will share some of what NFL folks are discussing in their circles.
The scoop: "I've heard other scouts compare him to Will Fuller, but that's just too much in my opinion. Fuller's football speed was off the charts. Fuller would get his separation on speed alone, but I think Westbrook is helped out a little bit by the offense Oklahoma runs. I like him, but I don't 'Will Fuller like him.'" -- AFC scout on Oklahoma WR Dede Westbrook
The skinny: Westbrook, who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting, nearly doubled his receiving-yardage total from 2015 to 2016, and from scoring four touchdowns in '15 to 16 this season. He uses effective, sharp route stems to create separation from cornerbacks, and the Sooners' offensive alignment often pulled safeties out of the middle of the field, allowing Westbrook to make the explosive catch. Fuller ran a blazing 40-yard dash (4.32 seconds) at the NFL Scouting Combine last year. He often ran past cornerbacks and safeties en route to his explosive plays. While Westbrook has Day 2 (Rounds 2-3) potential, recent reports about two separate domestic-violence arrests in 2012 and 2013 could loom large over his career aspirations.
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The scoop: "He's really making himself some money late in the season. He's got a reputation for being a little bit lazy and he definitely takes too many plays off, but when the lights are bright, he usually shows up. These playoffs could really boost his stock even more." -- NFC director of scouting on Clemson TE Jordan Leggett
The skinny: I'm not quite as high on Leggett's NFL future as some of the scouts I speak to. While Leggett is a terrific athlete and finds ways to create vertical separation, he still needs to improve his work ethic and play with more intensity on the field to reach his potential. As a blocker, there are too many plays where Leggett seems content to let defenders off the hook. As for his play in the biggest games, there is no way around that. Leggett has put together a strong body of work in big-game scenarios and will get a chance to expand on that resume when Clemson meets Ohio State in a College Football Playoff semifinal game (Fiesta Bowl, New Year's Eve).
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The scoop: "I see what you see too, but that's the MAC, not the SEC. If he made some of those throws against NFL cornerbacks and safeties, they turn into pick-sixes. He's a great kid, he's smart, but he falls below the minimum standard for arm strength." -- AFC scout on Central Michigan QB Cooper Rush
The skinny: The scout is referring to my commentary on Rush's ability to process quickly and make consistently smart decisions with excellent timing from the pocket. While we both see that in him, NFL teams are likely going to have issues with Rush's lack of arm strength. He has a dumpy build and a weak arm. It isn't until you get deep into the tape that you realize you are watching a really advanced field reader with outstanding football intelligence. His physical limitations could hurt his draft stock, but the mental side of his game should not be discounted.