2021 - Torn Labrum; 2022 - Pectoral injury
2021 - Arkansas, Florida, Alabama (National Championship)
Dean's leadership qualities are what you want from an inside linebacker. He takes command of a defense and takes responsibility for making sure his teammates are aligned correctly. His football IQ and reacting skills are also very impressive as he reads his keys and gets right to where he needs to be quickly. He also is a very efficient tackler which you need as a linebacker. His coverage skills are also very impressive, especially his ability to open up and run with running backs and tight ends in man coverage. Lastly, his lateral agility, quickness, and speed help him to avoid any kind of size miss matches by simply beating blockers to the spot.
His lack of size will hurt him in a few areas. He struggles in stack and shed situations due to the fact that he doesn't have the adequate length to get extension on blockers and disengage quickly. Also doesn't possess elite play strength as he gets knocked off the ball or off his path easily by bigger offensive linemen once they get their hands on him. His lack of any type of position versatility could limit his options on possible landing spots as he is suited for the WILL linebacker spot in a 4-3 scheme.
The #1 ranked linebacker in his class and four-star prospect out of Horn Lake High School in Mississippi, Dean decided to go be the next star linebacker for the Georgia Bulldogs. He found an immediate role in the defense, playing in all 14 games as a true freshman and finishing with 25 total tackles. Saw his role improve as a sophomore, starting in all 10 games and accounting for 71 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks. Followed that up with his best season as a Bulldog in 2021. While leading the best defense in college football on their way to a National Championship win, Dean finished the season with 72 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, and two interceptions with one returned for a touchdown. His performance helped earn him the Butkus Award for the nation's top linebacker, along with unanimous FIrst Team All-American and All-SEC recognition. His play was good enough for him to declare early for the draft and get invited to the 2022 NFL Combine. At the next level, Dean projects as an immediate starter at the WILL linebacker spot in a 4-3 defense. He will be best suited to go to a team to pair with an established strongside linebacker. With his ability to stop the run and find success in pass coverage, Dean is the type of three down linebacker that NFL teams look for. If put in the right system and if he plays to his full potential, I could see Nakobe Dean turning into a top 10-15 linebacker in the league or possibly even higher.
Has outstanding lateral agility. Is a smooth move from side to side which helps him scrape from the weakside to find the ball. Plays with a nice amount of speed. Is able to run sideline to sideline and make plays. Has the adequate speed to run down just about any ball carrier he faced. Shows an explosive burst through the gaps when coming downhill and also shows explosiveness when finishing on tackles. Has outstanding closing quickness. When he sees the ball, he gets downhill and attacks in a hurry. Isn't weak by any means but he is overpowered at times by bigger offensive linemen.
Pass Rush Ability:
Big Play Ability
Rush with Leverage
Pass Rush Moves
While he isn't asked to come off the edge very often, he is outstanding when blitzing up the middle as a pass rusher. Has a quick first step and times his blitzes perfectly to burst through his gap before the offensive linemen have a chance to react. Shows solid bend to rip through the inside shoulder of opposing linemen. Shows quick counter moves with his hands along with solid footwork and a strong spin move at times to make offensive linemen miss.
Is a very good coverage linebacker. This is especially true in man coverage. Has the speed and hip fluidity to turn and run with running backs and tight ends vertically. Is very smooth in his pass drops and does a good job of getting to his drop quickly and looking up routes in his zone. Is very good at picking up on route concepts and reacting accordingly.
Against The Run:
Doesn't show much struggle to win with leverage against offensive linemen. However, due to his smaller frame, he can struggle in stack and shed situations at times. Doesn't have the length to get true extension on blockers and takes too long to disengage. Shows the ability to run sideline to sideline with ease to get to the ball and takes effective angles to the ball when the play is away from him. Is a very good all around tackler. Very rarely misses tackles inside the box and is sound in the open field as well. Does a good job at wrapping up and running through his tackles.
Play with Leverage
Stack and Shed
While he is at a size disadvantage a lot of times, he isn't afraid of contact by any means. Comes downhill with bad intentions and takes on everything in his way. Also showed the ability to play through injuries. Plays with a very high motor at all times. Even when the play is away from him, he hustles until the whistle is blown. Was the true leader of the defense. Showed the ability to make pre-snap calls and get his teammates in the correct alignment.
Has a very high football IQ. Goes through his reads quickly and effectively and reacts right away. Does a great job of putting himself in the right position to make plays by reading his keys. Does a great job of reading if it is a run or pass quickly. He gets into his drop right away if it is a pass and comes downhill to attack if it is a run. Doesn't have ,much true position versatility as he is meant to play inside the box at the WILL/weakside linebacker.