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AP Photo/Butch Dill

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: LB Nakobe Dean

Big Board ranking: #3

Positional ranking: #1



Position: LB

College: Georgia

Class: Junior

Age: 21



Height: 5’11 1/4”

Weight: 229 lbs.

Arm length: 31 7/8″

Hand size: 9 1/8″


Athletic testing

40-yard dash: N/A

Vertical jump: N/A

Broad jump: N/A

Bench press: N/A

3-cone drill: N/A

Short shuttle: N/A



Elite sideline-to-sideline speed. A+ instincts. Relentless overall pursuit. Phenomenal awareness and football intelligence. Tremendous play recognition and reaction time. Always seems to know where the ball is. Top-end acceleration. Very quick and explosive. Aggressive wrap-up tackler that wrangles opponents to the ground. Plus play strength. Will make a square-up tackle in the hole. Often able to stop ball-carriers in their tracks despite smaller size. Physical taking on blocks and keeps his eyes on the action. Excellent balance.  Great feel in zone coverage. Understands passing concepts to put himself in the right spot. Reads the quarterback’s eyes and reacts. Exceptional in man coverage. Quick to stick with running backs out of the backfield. Usually erases underneath routes. Rarely fooled by play-action or misdirection. Instantly identifies screen passes. Very good ball skills. Excellent burst and impeccable timing as a blitzer. Natural feel for where the gaps are as a rusher. Quick to jump and deflect passes when he doesn’t get to the quarterback. Impressive bend. Top-tier leadership and intangibles. Fiery and competitive.



Below-average overall size. Lack of length will lead to some missed tackles. Can struggle to disengage from blockers that get to his frame. Offensive lineman can push him back when they reach the second level. Size could be a matchup concern versus tight ends in coverage.


NFL comparison

Roquan Smith



Overall, Dean is a fast, instinctive linebacker that can overcome any concerns about size with a near-superhuman ability to find the football. He should be a top-five pick for what he will bring on the field and from a leadership perspective.


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