Nakobe Dean fell hard in Friday’s draft as he went from a sure-fire first-rounder to a Day 2 pick. The Philadelphia Eagles eventually selected the Georgia linebacker in Round 3 at No. 83 overall. Injury concerns were the reason for many teams passing on a player thought to be the best linebacker available.
One report claimed Dean was going to have to sit out the entire 2022 campaign to rehab from a pectoral injury. Well, that’s not the case. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman told reporters he expects to have Dean on the field for rookie minicamps next week. Dean quickly confirmed Roseman’s comments, adding that he’s “ready to go” and plans to be a “full participant” when rookies report.
“I’m ready to go. I know minicamp is next week and I expect to be a full participant for that,” Dean told reporters after Round 3. “And why I dropped, it’s not in my control. Nothing I can do. I couldn’t — there was nothing I could do to make them pick me earlier. Just grateful and pleased that I have this opportunity.”
Everyone was miffed when Dean started to slide. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport detailed his many ailments: torn labrum in 2020, knee tendinitis, a multitude of soft tissue injuries, and then a “significant pec strain” while working out this offseason. None of them are expected to limit him. And the whole process caused Dean a lot of grief, not to mention money. Now he has extra motivation to prove people wrong.
“That was the nerve-wracking part about it, the whole thing,” Dean said. “You know, listening to things that are not true and it’s costing me a lot of money. And just seeing my mama’s face, and for me falling and to hear things like that, that was just the biggest thing. But at the end of the day, I’m blessed. I feel like I got picked by a great organization, and I’m ready to work.”
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No Surgery Required: ‘Nobody Told Me’ That
Dean’s pectoral injury was the one that really caused him to drop down draft boards. Teams were under the impression he had elected not to have immediate surgery to repair it, but that the operation was going to have to be scheduled prior to training camp. Again, not the case. Dean saw multiple doctors and got second opinions, all confirming that surgery wasn’t necessary.
“That was the thing that was so surprising and mind-boggling,” Dean said. “I went to doctors, got second opinions and everything, and nobody, nobody said I should have surgery. Nobody had told me I had to have surgery. So, for that to come up and for teams to be saying that and waiting until the day of the Draft to say something like that, that was kind of crazy to me.”
As far as what Dean brings to the Eagles’ defense, let’s talk about his leadership. He was a “permanent team captain” at Georgia and the heart and soul of the country’s No. 2 defense.
“I’m not the biggest rah-rah guy. I’m going to say what’s on my mind or whatever gets the job done,” Dean said of his leadership style. “At the end of the day, I feel like the only thing that matters is winning games. It’s the only thing that matters. I feel whatever we got to do to win games is what I’m for.”
Smart Student, Mechanical Engineering Degree
Perhaps lost in the shuffle when evaluating Dean is how smart the kid is. The 21-year-old majored in mechanical engineering and graduated with an outstanding 3.55 GPA. He also graduated from high school with a 4.3 GPA while playing football, baseball, basketball, and running track at Horn Lake High School in Mississippi. Dean is a certifiable stud student-athlete.
“I feel like for the most part, me studying, the studying aspect of what I have to do off the field translates to me in a football sense,” Dean said. “having to put in the hours and hours to watch the film to make sure I’m going watch the film until I feel like I’m ready is never a set time.”
One more interesting note: Dean originally arrived at Georgia with intentions to be a doctor. Then he fell in love with chemistry class (via The Athletic): “I was interested in prosthetics, how they work and the design of them, so I just stuck to that.”