Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Eagles select Nakobe Dean: Scouting report, three things to know about Philadelphia’s newest linebacker

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The Philadelphia Eagles selected Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft at No. 83 overall. Dean, who was projected as a first-round pick, fell amid concerns of the linebacker declining surgery on a severe pectoral strain while working out this offseason.

Dean could miss the entire 2022 season, but the risk was worth the reward for the Eagles. He’ll be reunited with defensive tackle Jordan Davis in Philadelphia, who the Eagles selected at No. 13 overall. 

Here is a scouting report and three things to know about Dean: 

Box linebacker

Dean was the definition of a traditional linebacker on defense for Georgia last season, taking 582 snaps in the box for the national champions. His pressure to the quarterback is excellent, generating 31 of them in 2021 — sixth among linebackers in the nation. He’s the extra blitzer needed in Jonathan Gannon’s defense. 

Field general

The Bulldogs’ defense was arguably the best in the nation in 2021, led by Dean as the leader of the unit. Dubbed the “field general” by Georgia, the Bulldogs led the country in scoring defense (9.5 points per game) and red zone defense (60% of possessions resulted in scores) in the regular season. Georgia was second in total defense (254.4 yards per game) and ranked third nationally in passing yards allowed (172.7 yards per game) and in rushing defense (81.7 yards per game) in the regular season. 

Dean was the only player in the nation with five sacks (had six sacks), two forced fumbles, and two interceptions in 2021. Georgia allowed just 10.2 points per game (regular season and playoffs), the fifth-best scoring defense since 2000. Dean was the leader of that unit. 

Smart on and off the field 

Dean graduated high school with a 4.3 GPA and carried a 3.55 GPA in mechanical engineering at Georgia. The Butkus Award winner (best linebacker in nation) was also a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which goes annually to college football‘s defensive player of the year, but also gives equal weight to personal character. 

Dean has been described as “selfless’ and a culture changer.” He’ll be a leader on the Eagles’ defense. 

Scouting report

Strengths

  • Smart, speedy linebacker who reads plays in a hurry and attacks. 
  • Minimal-to-no hesitation to his game. 
  • Tremendous blitzer. 
  • Bendy and authoritative. 
  • Fights through blocks well.
  • Flashes of quick feet and closing speed are elite. 
  • Coverage ability is about as close to NFL-ready as you’re going to get at linebacker. 
  • Can counter negative plays on film with splash plays. 
  • The type of three-down playmaking linebacker you want today.

Weaknesses

  • Not amazing at beating blocks en route to the ball carrier because he is a tick undersized. 
  • Change of direction is typically good. Not amazing. 
  • Occasionally will miss a big tackle.

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