Nakobe Dean Scouting Report: 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Profile

Linebacker, Georgia Bulldogs, #17


6’0, 225 lbs.
40-time: 4.52

Nakobe Dean Player Profile

Nakobe Dean enrolled at Georgia with lofty expectations that he would eventually become one of their star performers. Those expectations largely derived from his consensus five-star rating from every major recruiting service. He was unanimously ranked as the #1 player in Mississippi and the #1 inside linebacker prospect. As a high school senior, Dean put up video game-like numbers: 175 tackles, 26 TFL, 7 sacks, 3 interceptions, and two forced fumbles.

Dean also played running back at Horn Lake High School, which isn’t a surprise due to his measurables and shorter, yet strong frame. He totaled nine touchdowns on the ground as well to pair with his long list of accolades on defense. On top of being a dual threat on the football field, Dean was a versatile athlete for his high school as well. He was a star on the basketball, baseball, and track teams which speaks to his natural abilities as an athlete. Not only is Dean a star on the field, but he is a star in the classroom as well. He was the recipient of the Ramsey Scholarship for Academic Excellence and is a mechanical engineering major at Georgia. Last week, he was named a semi-finalist for the Wuerrfel Trophy. This award recognizes the player that “best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”

The athletic achievement component of the honor is certainly self-explanatory. Dean has been one of the better players in the country during his junior season. He was named to the Mid-Season All America team as a result of his 37 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and two interceptions, one of those a pick-six touchdown. Nakobe has been an impact contributor since his true freshman season. Everything has come together for him this season, as a captain and one of the leaders of the team.

Nakobe Dean Strengths

Play Speed

Georgia LB Nakobe Dean

Georgia LB Nakobe Dean

Arguably the most impressive thing about Dean’s film is watching how fast he plays. When he blitzes, it looks like he was shot out of a cannon. When he plays the run, he shows quick burst attacking the ball carrier. In coverage, he shows solid lateral quickness and the ability to run sideline-to-sideline. Dean’s natural athleticism is impressive, but his understanding of the defense allows him to play even faster. His motor never stops either, he is always full-go.

Football IQ

Dean has a strong knowledge of what his pre-snap assignments are and has awesome play recognition skills. He isn’t as susceptible to play fakes or being manipulated by the quarterbacks’ eyes as others. His film shows a lot of discipline in his zones and the ability to diagnose the play before it even happens. Rather than reacting to the snap as it unfolds, Dean puts himself in the correct position to make a play. He has been calling the plays for the last two seasons.


I don’t have an exact number, but the percentage of snaps that Dean blitzes on third and medium or long is extremely high. Remember, this is a primarily off the ball linebacker we are talking about. Not only does Dean show amazing speed getting to the quarterback, but he often shows the ability to get in the backfield untouched. He understands the holes in the blocking scheme relative to the blitz his team is about to run. Games are won and lost on third down in the NFL, and Dean’s ability to blitz from different positions will be a huge asset.

Run Defense

Although undersized, Dean is a strong box defender, especially against the run. It starts with his motor and toughness, but his ability to shed blocks and finish tackles is impressive as well. On runs outside the tackles, Dean is usually in position to make the tackle before a blocker gets hands on him. Because of his strong gap understanding and aggressiveness at the point of attack, Dean is solid against runs up the middle as well.

Nakobe Dean Weaknesses

Size and Strength

Georgia LB Nakobe Dean

Georgia LB Nakobe Dean

Standing at 6’0, Dean doesn’t possess the taller, more wiry frame that is the preferred body type for linebackers in today’s NFL. Dean’s size hasn’t limited him much at Georgia, but it could at the next level in terms of his range and ability to defend the pass and playing the point of attack. Dean has a strong lower body, but he could add another few pounds to his frame to better equip himself against stronger NFL players. Size isn’t everything (ask Devin White), but Dean simply doesn’t have an ideal body for the position.

Man Coverage

Dean is strong in zone coverage because he is disciplined and athletic enough to drop and man his zones. However, when tasked to play man coverage he isn’t as effective. He doesn’t offer elite change of direction that will allow him to mirror twitchy running backs or slots. Dean is really fast and moves well laterally, but his movement in and out of breaks can get better. It is tough to envision Dean covering across the formation or keeping up with different route combos.

Nakobe Dean Draft Stock

Shooting up. Flying up draft boards. Rising. All these phrases accurately describe Dean’s draft stock. On a defense full of standouts, Dean has stood out just as much as any of them. I previously watched the film of Lewis Cine and Nolan Smith who are also on the Bulldogs defense, but Dean’s tape is a class above. He entered the year as one of Georgia’s best players, but there were parts of his game that needed answers. Now, Dean has firmly entrenched himself in the upper echelon of 2022 NFL draft prospects with his play.

Nakobe Dean NFL Draft Profile Final Thoughts

It isn’t often linebackers under 230 pounds are garnering first round buzz, but Dean is a prospect that is worthy of it. Dean offers the total package for a linebacker: athletic, smart, versatile, and productive. Dean isn’t a leading tackler or sack-getter on his defense, but he is the heartbeat of the unit. He is a player you can rely on to not make mistakes and he will make life easier on the guys around him. Dean wasn’t a first round prospect entering the year, but he certainly is now. Sitting only behind Devin Lloyd , Dean is firmly the #2 linebacker in the 2022 NFL draft class on my big board.

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