2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Nakobe Dean

  • Nakobe Dean, 6-0/225

  • Linebacker

  • Georgia

  • Nakobe Dean Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Dynamic blitzer
  • Fires into the backfield to pressure QBs quickly
  • Good vision to work through trash
  • Natural timing, anticipation
  • Sideline-to-sideline defender
  • Good pursuit defender
  • Closing quickness
  • Athletic
  • Ability to redirect
  • Potential to be good pass-coverage linebacker
  • Could help cover running backs, tight ends
  • Good sub-package linebacker
  • Quick; covers a lot of ground
  • Covers a lot of ground in zone coverage
  • Could also contribute on special teams
  • Intelligent
  • Hard worker
  • Team leader

  • Weaknesses:
  • Flashes instincts, but inconsistent
  • Needs to get better at taking on and shedding blocks
  • Lacked run-defense production

  • Summary: Lost in the celebration of Georgia’s National Championship run was that the tremendous Bulldogs defense lost their best pass rusher in Adam Anderson to suspension after beating rival Florida. Despite Anderson out, Dean successfully picked up the slack and enjoyed a phenomenal season to help the Bulldogs win their first National Championship in 40 years. Dean collected 72 tackles, six sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and six passes defended over the 15 games of 2021. He made a lot of clutch plays and was a team leader. In 2020, Dean recorded 71 tackles and .5 sacks.

    The NFL is a passing-driven league, and Dean is a linebacker with the size, speed, and athleticism to become a three-down starter at the next level. What Dean does best is blitz the quarterback, which he is phenomenal at. Dean shows tremendous timing, vision and anticipation on when he decides to fire into the backfield. Dean comes downhill in a hurry to catch quarterbacks by surprise, and he can often catche them off guard. Pro offensive lines will probably diminish Dean’s remarkable blitzing compared to the college lines he exploited, but Dean still has the ability to make impactful plays as a blitzer.

    At Georgia, Dean showed the speed and athleticism to defend backs, tight ends, and receivers in the middle of the field. He has some ball skills to pick off passes or slap them away. Dean can cover ground in zone and get depth when he drops in coverage. Like all college players, Dean will need some development at guarding tight ends and backs in man coverage, but he has the potential to grow into that role for the NFL.

    Against the run, Dean has the quickness to defend the perimeter and is a quality tackler. He isn’t a real force thouhg, and his instincts are inconsistent. Sometimes, Dean displays phenomenal instinctiveness, but he falls quiet at other times, which is reflected in his underwhelming tackle totals from the past two seasons. Dean isn’t overly physical, but he has the athleticism and speed to chase down backs. For the NFL, he’ll need to improve at taking on and shedding blocks.

    On top of his on field talent, Dean is know to be a team leader, hard worker, and a player who loves football. He also has excellent intangibles and should interview well with teams prior to the 2022 NFL Draft. Dean could end up getting picked somewhere between the back half of Round 1 and the middle of Round 2.

    Player Comparison: Shaq Thompson. There are a lot of similarities with Dean and Thompson. Both are good athletes, with team-first intangibles and upside to develop. Thompson was taken in the first round of 2015, and Dean could be a first-rounder in the 2022 NFL Draft. Thompson (6-0, 230) has put up decent, but never great, production, and Dean is similar while being nearly identical in size.


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