One play last year showed what receiver Dede Westbrook can potentially bring to the Jaguars.

 

Lined up wide right for Oklahoma against Texas, Westbrook ran a quick slant, caught Baker Mayfield’s pass and – zoom! – simultaneously turned up field and turned on the jets to score a 47-yard touchdown.

Pushing aside (but not forgetting) Westbrook’s off-the-field history, that play against the Longhorns was probably a main reason the Jaguars drafted him in last month’s fourth round.

Speed – 4.38-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, yards after the catch – 37 yards on the aforementioned play and touchdowns – 17 scoring catches last year.

“When I saw that pick, the first thing I thought was, ‘Options and depth,’” a league source said Monday. “That’s huge for them.”

The options part is especially huge.

Between now and the Sept. 10 opener at Houston, a talking point will be how the Jaguars deploy Westbrook and what he feels comfortable doing. (The Jaguars declined the Times-Union’s request to interview Westbrook during last weekend’s rookie camp.)

We dug into three of Westbrook’s games from last year, against Ohio State (seventh-best pass defense), Texas (10 catches-232 yards-three touchdowns) and Auburn (Sugar Bowl against 67th-ranked pass defense).

Our three assumptions when Westbrook was drafted: He played in the slot, he caught most of his passes around the line of scrimmage and he didn’t run a full route tree in the Sooners’ spread scheme.

Wrong, wrong and wrong.

Charting Westbrook’s activity in the three games was revealing.

Westbrook played inside on only 11 of 204 snaps (5.4 percent).

Of Westbrook’s 21 catches, 10 were at or behind the line of scrimmage (47.6 percent), but five were at least 20 yards downfield (23.8 percent).

And although limited to the right side of the field, Westbrook ran several different routes.

Our game-by-game notes …

Ohio State (five catches-51 yards in a loss): Almost always off the line of scrimmage to avoid press coverage and usually had a tight end lined up in the right slot. … Was used in motion six times, catching a 17-yard pass out of a stacked right formation and rushing for 35 yards on a jet sweep. … Was in position to make three catches, but Mayfield surprisingly misfired. … When stationary at the snap, lined up on the right side on all but one snap. … Longest catch of 23 yards came against off coverage.

Texas (three touchdowns in a win): Caught four passes behind the line of scrimmage that he turned into gains of 1, 10, 1 and 12 yards. … Of his 232 yards, 120 were post-catch. … Had touchdowns of 42, 71 and 47 yards. … On the 42-yard TD, used a double move – slant-and-go – and caught the pass 28 yards downfield. … The 71-yard TD was a brilliant design by offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. Mayfield rolled left and threw right to Westbrook, who ran a deep post route and caught it in-stride 52 yards downfield.

Auburn (six catches and three rushes in a win): The Tigers sold out to stop the run, leaving Westbrook in mostly man coverage. … Two-yard rush and six-yard catch when he ran in motion. … Made a 26-yard catch (corner route) on fourth-and-4. … Seven-yard TD came out of a stacked left formation and he caught the pass five yards behind the line of scrimmage.

“When he touches the football, he gets to the end zone,” Kansas coach David Beaty said last year. “You’ve got to have a plan [to defend him].”

But what will be the Jaguars’ plan?

For now, it will be learning the outside receiver positions.

“Let’s see where that goes first and then see,” coach Doug Marrone said. “Once he’s good at that, [let’s] really start moving him.”

If the Jaguars choose to use him inside, what will be Westbrook’s challenge?

“With his size [6-foot/178 pounds], he should have the flexibility to get in and out of his breaks quickly, which is key inside because he won’t run as many deeper routes where he can just blow by somebody,” the league source said. “If he was a 6-foot-5 guy, ugh, it would be a tough situation for him, but he’s not.”

Keeping a receiver on one side of the field – and sometimes in the same exact spot – has become common in college football.

“There are tons of offenses that do it,” the source said. “Everything in college is, ‘Tempo, tempo, tempo.’ The benefit for Westbrook was, ‘Always on the right side, always off the ball, no huddle, go fast.’ Everything is tempo and everything is about playing fast.

“In the NFL, the only time we keep the receiver on the same side play after play after play is in two-minute [situations].”

In his 204 snaps against Ohio State, Texas and Auburn, Westbrook played on the left side only five times.

Staying on one side is not an option in the NFL, but Westbrook should be able to easily learn the left side.

What if the Jaguars believe as a rookie his best spot is outside? How do they deploy Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee?

“That is the great thing about those three players – they’ve lined up everywhere and that will be a huge advantage for the offense if [the Jaguars] do have concerns about Westbrook playing inside,” the source said.

In last year’s opening-game loss to Green Bay, Hurns lined up in the slot most often and Rashad Greene also played inside. The unknown about offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s system is how much more he will use three-receiver personnel instead of two-receiver/two-tight end of the last two years.

If the Jaguars have more three-receiver plays, there will be plenty of playing time for Robinson, Hurns, Lee and Westbrook.

If Robinson gets off to a good start this year, an opponent’s top cornerback could start traveling with him and the Jaguars would behoove to try him inside, the source said, “because you’re putting that cornerback in a spot he doesn’t practice much at.”

Fourth-round receivers have made an impact as rookies in recent years, including New England’s Malcolm Mitchell (32-401-4 last year), Washington’s Jamison Crowder (49-604-2 in 2015) and Indianapolis’ Austin Collie (60-676-7 in 2009). Westbrook has to get in line for touches in the Jaguars’ passing game, but his college tape suggests he can make a positive impact right away.