2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: TCU LB Dee Winters

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft, we will scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections, and priority undrafted free agents. Today we’ll be profiling TCU Linebacker Dee Winters.


Combine invite


Player Ht/Wt Hand size Arm Length Wingspan
Dee Winters 5’11 / 227 8 5/8″ 31 5/8″ 75 3/8″
40 Yard Dash 10 Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
4.49 1.54 4.46 N/A
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
116″ 30 1/2″ 20


— Speed to cover ground quickly and effectively
— Strength and athleticism to pick up RBs and TEs in coverage
— Does well keeping his eyes in the backfield to read QB when in coverage
— Has the trigger speed to fire downhill and crash on the football with urgency
— Moves well laterally to cover and defend sideline to sideline
— Fluid mover in space to effectively cover ground in zone coverage
— Effective blitzer who was utilized both through the gaps and off the edge


— Lacks the patience to let play develop and unfold before trying to make a play on the football, resulting in mistakes and allowing big plays
— Undersized with 5’11 227-pound frame
— Average testing athletically outside of speed
— Play diagnosis needs to improve
— Inconsistent angles to the football when trying to make a tackle
— Too often gets stuck in blocks and wiped out of play
— Processing needs work, too many missteps and bites on the football, which leads to him being out of position


— Birthday is October 17th, 2000 (22 years old)
— 3-star recruit out of Burton, Texas, ranked 689th nationally by 247sports
— 36 career starts, team captain in 2022
— Named first-team All-Big 12 in 2022
— 2022 Stats: 79 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 1 interception, 3 pass deflection


To start off we see Winters lined up as the off-ball linebacker closest to the screen. Despite the play progression seeming obvious that it would lead to the outside, he works back to the inside. There is a chance he was taking this to defend a potential cutback, but that seems like something that would be on #57 to handle. Winters appears to have just gotten ahead of himself and jumped too early upfield, missing the chance at the football.

Later on in the game, is a great example of the downhill trigger that Winters has. While the credit of this play goes to the pressure provided by the opposite linebacker, Winters is patient. Once he decides to attack, he pounces downhill, wrapping up the quarterback for the sack.
The processing is a constant issue for Winters on tape. Here against Kansas State you see he gets baited by the read option. Even if he felt the ball was going to the RB, he needed to be more patient in his approach. Winters plays too antsy and it leads to issues of overpursuit, and on this play it resulted in a big pickup on the ground for Adrian Martinez.
Here in the play below is part of the appeal with Winters. Despite working from the opposite side of the play progression, he shows great field range to get over before the back gets very far upfield and limits him to a short gain. The tackle wasn’t super pretty, but playing the sideline safe to avoid any penalty is common, so he gets a pass.
If you were able to catch the College Football Playoffs this year, you’re probably at least somewhat familiar with Dee Winters because he had the performance of his life on the national stage. Here you can see Winters’ coverage ability as he works downfield before picking up the tight end and recovers to follow him upfield and disrupt the throw for an incompletion. Winters was a safety in high school, and the coverage ability is easy to notice on film.
Much more than using that speed in coverage, Winters can crash into the backfield. When given the open gap, you’re asking for trouble. Winters makes Michigan pay the price and gets an easy tackle for loss on the play.
While Winters is smaller than your average linebacker, he showed some promising play against Michigan here. He gets involved in heavy traffic and is able to take on the block while also disengaging once the ball carrier some by him in the blocking lane and gets a tackle on the play. If Winters is able to consistently take on blocks like this in the NFL, he could be a full-time contributor in the second level.
We’ll end it with the most impactful play of all, the nail in the coffin against the Wolverines. Winters creeps up toward the line of scrimmage but reads the quarterbacks eyes to feel the slant route coming over him and adjusts his positioning to make the interception and put up 6. The instincts and play IQ are there but getting it consistent in the play-to-play aspect of Winters game will determine the level of player he can be.


Dee Winters will win teams over with his speed and quick trigger with the chance for those to be unlocked into more consistent playmaking with more time and experience in the NFL. That experience is much needed as there are still many issues in terms of processing in his play. Not to mention the limitations due to his frame and play strength could hold him back from ever securing a full-time role at linebacker.

For the Steelers specifically, Dee Winters likely wouldn’t resolve the need at linebacker, but if they decide to double dip at the position getting someone like Winters who could also rotate and operate as a speed rusher off the edge could bring intriguing value worth grabbing in the later rounds.

Projection: Day 3

Depot Draft Grade: 7.2 – Rotational Player (4th Round)

Games Watched: vs Oklahoma (2022), vs  Kansas State (2022), vs Michigan (2023)

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