Eagles Rumors: 'Scouts Scoff at' Concerns About Nakobe Dean After 2022 NFL Draft

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 9, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 04: Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 4, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean surprisingly fell to the third round of the 2022 NFL draft, in large part because of injury concerns, before the Philadelphia Eagles selected him. 

Other potential causes for his drop may have been his smaller stature (5'11" and 229 pounds) and his questionable speed (he didn't run for teams at the NFL Scouting Combine or his pro day), per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, "leading some to wonder if this is a case of a great college player not translating to the pros."

But Fowler added that "other scouts scoff at that, insisting his instincts will make him a Day 1 starter for Philly."

By most accounts, Dean's fall into the third round was one of the draft's biggest shockers. The B/R Scouting Department had Dean ranked as its No. 21 player on its final big board, while the NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah had him 17th, calling him an "undersized linebacker with exceptional instincts and play-making ability."

Josh Tolentino @JCTSports

Nakobe Dean was the most dynamic player and he served as a team captain on the nation’s best defense. <br><br>That type of pedigree is what the Eagles are banking on as they finally invest in a true, young talent at the position.<a href="https://t.co/nP7SMsSkpz">https://t.co/nP7SMsSkpz</a> <a href="https://t.co/FkY3C7kwG0">pic.twitter.com/FkY3C7kwG0</a>

Dean didn't play like a third-round pick during his college career. He registered at least 70 tackles in each of the past two seasons, adding 10.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, five passes defensed and a defensive touchdown in the 2021 campaign alone. 

Injury concerns played a major part in his slide, with a pectoral injury in particular being "a concern for teams," per Fowler, who added that "some teams believe he could need surgery, which compromises his 2022 season. But I'm told all 32 teams were sent letters from Dean's independent doctors clearing him for football activities and classifying the injury as a pectoral strain."

John Clark @JClarkNBCS

Nakobe Dean is a full participant at rookie camp <a href="https://t.co/JKtQNxUuJY">https://t.co/JKtQNxUuJY</a>

For Dean, the slide will serve as added motivation. 

"It's definitely something that will stick with me," he told reporters on Friday. "It's not my primary or secondary source of motivation, but it's definitely something that will stick with me throughout my playing career."

Eliot Shorr-Parks @EliotShorrParks

Howie Roseman said during his scouting trip to Georgia he was asking about all the players on the defense and he was told: <br><br>“The best player on our defense is Nakobe Dean”<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Eagles?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Eagles</a> <br><br> <a href="https://t.co/6qh5HFMzD9">pic.twitter.com/6qh5HFMzD9</a>

Dave Zangaro @DZangaroNBCS

"Nakobe is a first-round caliber player. I believe that, no matter where he got picked. It doesn’t matter where you start. It’s about where you finish. And I’m sure Nakobe is going to finish as one of the greats when all is said and done." -- Jordan Davis on Nakobe Dean

Eliot Shorr-Parks @EliotShorrParks

Darius Slay says he has high hopes for Nakobe Dean <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Eagles?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Eagles</a>

And the Eagles potentially landed the steal of the draft in the process. 

"I can sense he's all ball all the time, whether we are in a meeting or on the field, he's locked in," head coach Nick Sirianni told reporters on Friday. "You definitely felt that from him, and we knew that about him before we even drafted him. He definitely showed that today, and he showed that yesterday in our meetings."