Once thought a 1st-rounder, Georgia LB Nakobe Dean falls to Eagles in 3rd round

·Writer
·2 min read

The answer for the biggest faller of the 2022 NFL draft is easy.

Once thought to be a consensus first-round talent, Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean was supposed to be the steal of the second round. And then he fell to the third.

Dean's slide finally ended when he was taken 83rd overall by the Philadelphia Eagles, which will at least let him reunite with former Georgia nose tackle Jordan Davis.

Davis was the seventh inside linebacker taken in the draft.

Nakobe Dean was supposed to be one of the NFL draft's top players

The 21-year-old entered the draft with an impeccable resume. He was a vital part of Georgia's championship-winning defense, posting 36 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. He was a unanimous All-American. He won the Butkus Award for college football's top linebacker.

Just about every public-facing NFL draft evaluator saw a first-rounder in Dean. Yahoo Sports' Eric Edholm had him as the No. 30 prospect in the draft. ESPN had him at No. 19. NFL.com at No. 17. Pro Football Focus at No. 19. Bleacher Report at No. 21.

The scouting reports all painted a sharp picture. Dean might be undersized at 5-foot-11 and 225 pounds, but he possesses elite instincts, closing speed, physicality and leadership. He was supposed to be a potential game-breaker.

Georgia's Nakobe Dean fell about two rounds farther than expected in the 2022 NFL draft. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Georgia's Nakobe Dean fell about two rounds farther than expected in the 2022 NFL draft. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Why did teams turn their nose at that? Well, reports indicated that medicals were a massive red flag for some teams. Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer noted Dean had sustained injuries to his ankle, foot, shoulder and wrist in college, his pec and groin before Georgia's pro day and some knee wear-and-tear for good measure.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport added onto that, reporting the pec injury to be a severe strain and teams to be concerned that Dean declined surgery on it.

So it seems that drafting Dean is a gamble for the Eagles, even if it's only gambling a third-round pick. If Dean gets healthy, though, he could very well be the steal of the draft.

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