Drafted: ROUND: 3 - Pick Number: 83 (PHI)
Draft Profile: BioAn amazing high school linebacker - Nakobe Dean won the 2018 High School Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker and was invited to the 2019 Under Armour All-American Game. He was a five-star prospect and a top-20 overall player in the 2019 recruiting class and attracted over 40 college offers. Ultimately he chose the Georgia Bulldogs and has never looked back.
Georgia has had the best defense in college football in 2021 and Deen was a big reason for this. He earned a share of the team’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year Award as a true freshman after making 25 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and a forced fumble.
In 2020 Deen was Georgia's leading tackler by a big margin. With 71 total stops, he dominated the defense. Dean also made 1.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and four quarterback hurries and was the only Georgia inside linebacker to start all 10 games.
2021 was huge for Dean: who was the Butkus Award winner, recognized as the nation’s top collegiate linebacker, made AP & Coaches’ All-SEC 1st Team, was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year by Pro Football Focus (PFF), and was a semifinalist for the 2021 Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the outstanding defensive player of the year. Dean started at ILB in all 13 games for Georgia and after his dominating performance in the Orange Bowl had totaled 8 sacks, 14 QB hurries, made 50 tackles, and had an outstanding 30.7 QB rating when targeted in coverage.
Scouting Report: Strengths
- Probably the most athletically gifted linebacker in the class - has elite speed and is explosive with a super quick twitch frame built for tackling
- Very good as a pass rusher - flashes closing speed and agility to reach passers from the blind side or up the middle before they can escape.
- One of the best linebackers in college in coverage - looks like a big corner as he runs with receivers and has an impressive 30.7 QB rating when targetted
- Possesses straight-line speed to stay with or chase down receivers in man coverage
- Good tackler who usually wraps up and hits surprising hard for a smaller LB
- Speed allows him to be able to track sideline to sideline - has a great radar - knows where runners are going to break before they do
- When tasked with man coverage responsibilities, he stays square and patient and very smart
- Good at diagnosing where the play is going has good speed to get to ball carriers quickly and is a reliable tackler
- Can attack the edge with speed and has the flexibility to dip low and under the tackle's reach.
- Trusts his eyes and shows no hesitation with good anticipation to avoid blockers.
- Takes blocks on low and shows strength to prevent getting sealed in.
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
- Loses size battles to many tight ends and sometimes is pushed away on out routes.
- A little undersized 6’0″ and 225 pounds, Dean may struggle against the power run game in the pro game
- Has good play speed but doesn’t possess the elite change of direction ability to recover from a misdiagnosed play
- His lateral agility and burst often put him in a position to make big plays, but he sometimes takes questionable routes to the ball and struggles to avoid blockers when in pursuit.
- Lacks the strength to blow up fullbacks and bulk/length to prevent getting engulfed by better linemen at the second level.
Scouting Report: SummaryBeing the leader of the best defense in college football is enabling Nakobe Dean, to build a case for himself to be the first linebacker off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft. Dean is an elite talent - he has the top speed and agility that allows him to cover like a corner, has natural pass rush moves akin to an edge rusher, and is a natural roving middle linebacker who hits hard.
He however does not come without reservations, one in particular - Dean has some size limitations when looking at transitioning to the NFL and is probably 15 lbs lighter than you would like - which has allowed him to be overpowered by bigger offensive lineman.
We view him as a very high first-round prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft, who should be a quality pro with star potential at the next level.
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