Nakobe Dean: “Nobody told me I had to have surgery, I’m healthy and ready to go”
The rapid fall of Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean has been one of the eyebrow-raising storylines in this draft.
Once projected to go top-15, Dean fell to the 83rd overall pick in the third round.
Newfound red flags across Dean’s medical history made teams wary, with some rumors even stating that he could miss his entire rookie season:
I was told shoulder, but the pec injury is also one of the biggest reasons why, as many others have now reported.https://t.co/tU82ria8JA— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) April 30, 2022
The timing of said concerns left many questioning the source of information, including Nakobe Dean himself.
Following his selection to the Philadelphia Eagles, Dean spoke with the media about the stressful situation:
“It was definitely nerve-racking, especially not knowing exactly all the way why I was falling like I did. At the end of the day, I feel like I got picked by a great organization. I’m just ready to work.”
“I’m healthy,” Dean said. “I’m ready to go. I know minicamp is next week and I expect to be a full participant for that. Why I dropped? It’s not in my control. Nothing I can do. Nothing I could do to make them pick me earlier. I’m grateful and blessed I have this opportunity.”
The standout linebacker went to Vegas thinking he’d go in the first round before reports surfaced about several injuries ranging from a torn labrum to knee issues.
Dean said that this experience “has done nothing but make the chip grow bigger.”
“Things that were not true cost me a lot of money,” Dean said. “That was the thing that was so surprising and mind-boggling. It was never, 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.”
Despite the injury woes, Dean never missed a game in his 3-year college career and was an integral part of Georgia’s championship defense last season:
Nakobe Dean in 2021:
- 72 tackles
- 10.5 tackles for loss
- 2 INTs
- 30.7 QBR when targeted
- 91.7 PFF Grade (1st among SEC LBs)
- 91.3 Pass Rush Grade (1st)
- 90.4 Coverage Grade (1st)
- 80.4 Run Defense Grade (1st)
At 6’0″ and 225 pounds, Dean is considered a bit undersized for a prototypical linebacker, but his skillset is so elite that it hardly matters.
Eagles GM Howie Roseman stated that they were ready to take Nakobe Dean in the second round but prioritized center at that spot and elected to draft Cam Jurgens.
Luckily, Dean was still available in the third round.
While every other team strayed away, the Eagles said “to hell with the concerns” — and they could reap the rewards as soon as next season.
Look at where Nakobe Dean starts and look at where he ends up. Show me the last Eagles LB that covered ground like this. pic.twitter.com/KMLdTGHSHG— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) April 30, 2022
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Mandatory Credit: ESPN