The Green Bay Packers need a linebacker, and with two first-round picks, they can easily address one of their biggest deficiencies by drafting Nakobe Dean out of Georgia. Dean led Georgia’s defense to a National Championship this past year and won the Butkus Award. He was the heart and soul of Georgia’s suffocating defense, and he has the talent to be a perfect NFL linebacker, especially in today’s game.
Dean comes in at 6’0”, 225 lbs. His height is the first thing that will stand out to scouts. Dean is just below the average height of an NFL linebacker, and some scouts will knock him for it. However, with all the other positives Dean provides, his height is an insignificant factor for his skills as a linebacker.
Dean’s biggest attribute is his run-stopping ability. He had an unreal 10.5 tackles for loss in 2021 and is fantastic at getting in the right place and making a tackle. Dean is excellent at wrapping up the runner and getting him on the ground. He won’t make a flashy hit when he has the opportunity. He will simply tackle you to the ground.
Check out this tackle for loss Dean had against Michigan in the playoffs.
Not only do you see Dean’s tackle-for-loss ability on this play, but you can also see his speed on full display.
Dean is potentially one of the fastest linebackers in this draft. It makes him perfect for the modern NFL, where linebackers aren’t huge, overbearing monsters but rather smaller, faster pass defenders. With Dean’s speed and build, he’s the perfect solution to the new-age tight ends that have found their way into the NFL. Tight ends have evolved so much now, and the NFL is still looking for ways to stop them.
However, while Dean’s frame and speed are an asset, it has been detrimental to him at times. Dean is not the best at blitzing or pass rushing. If he gets in untouched, he is poised to make a great play. However, if an offensive lineman touches him, he is likely a non-factor in the play. This isn’t a major shortcoming, though, as he can be used chiefly as a coverage linebacker and run-stuffer.
As mentioned before, Dean has the athleticism to excel in man coverage. His elite speed will allow him to even hang with some receivers.
Take a look at this cornerback-like play Dean made against Florida.
And this great play against Tennessee.
It’s crazy that Dean has the ball-hawking skills of a cornerback as a 225 lb. player. Dean has similarities to Isaiah Simmons and former NFL linebacker Telvin Smith. Both are athletic freaks who excel in coverage and run stuffing.
Not only is Dean a great football player, he is also a great leader and student.
When Dean was a nominee for the Butkus Award, all his teammates came out to support him and commend his character. He even got a shout-out from Butkus himself.
Dean is also one of the few college football players to earn an engineering degree. That’s an accomplishment on its own, but Dean even made the honor roll. That is an insane accomplishment, one that becomes crazier when you realize how much time football takes up in college.
Given how little cap the Packers have left, it makes sense for them to draft their most significant positional needs instead of signing free agents or trading. Getting young pieces on an already talented team would be huge.
Despite Dean’s size, he will have a huge impact on any team that drafts him. His coverage and run-stopping abilities would be a big-time asset for the Packers to help fill a hole they currently have at linebacker.