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Chargers NFL Draft Profile: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

What would Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean bring to the Chargers if they select him in the 2022 NFL Draft?

Measurements

  • Height: 5'11"
  • Weight: 229 pounds
  • Arms: 31 7/8 inches
  • Hands: 9 1/8 inches

Combine Results
  • *Did not participate in drills at the NFL Combine

    Stats

    Background

    Dean, a native of Horn Lake, Mississippi, won the 2018 High School Butkus Award, given to the nation's top prep linebacker. He was named the 2018-19 Gatorade High School Football Player in Mississippi. He led Horn Lake to a 15-0 season, becoming the top-ranked school in the state and earned a 2018 MHSAA Class 6A State title, the first in Horn Lake’s history. Dean also competed on varsity baseball, basketball and track teams. Upon committing to Georgia, Dean was a five-star recruit, ranking nationally as the No. 1 inside linebacker and the No. 14 overall player.

    At Georgia, he was a contributor in all three of his collegiate seasons, serving as a full-time starter in the last two years. Capping off his 2021 campaign, Dean was a semifinalist last season for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the most outstanding defensive player of the year. He took home the hardware of the 2021 Butkus Award, earning the praise of the nation's best linebacker.

    Michigan running back Blake Corum (2) runs against \Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean (17) during the first half of the Orange Bowl at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla. on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021

    Pros

    • Explosive first step and acceleration 
    • Wraps up ball carriers with a strong force
    • Keeps feet moving at the point of contact
    • Shown the ability to be sufficient in covering running backs
    • Has enough to his arsenal to succeed when called to blitz
    • Develops recognition early on in the play
    • Will run through blocks versus around them
    • Fearless in his pursuit to ball-carriers
    • Played against College Football's top competition

    Cons

    • Average against top-end strength 
    • Build is short and stocky
    • Can get swallowed up in traffic at times
    • Doesn’t offer much versatility
    • Can bite early on reads, having to backtrack
    • Inconsistent finisher
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    Fit with the Chargers

    Dean would be a plug-and-play draft pick if the Chargers select him later this month. Dean projects as a three-down player, whose skill set suggest he's best suited for a 4-3 defense but has the capability to fit multiple schemes. He can cover running backs out of the backfield, patrol the middle part of the field and get home after the quarterback went sent on blitz packages.

    The Chargers are significantly limited at linebacker compared to where they sat just a year ago. They lost Kyzir White in free agency and former first-round pick Kenneth Murray just underwent left ankle surgery last week, putting his availability to start the season in question. The Charges did, however, sign linebacker Troy Reeder to a one-year deal, reuniting him with Brandon Staley but he's largely viewed as more of a depth signing who can offer spot starts if needed.

    Projected draft slot: late first-round to early second-round pick

    NFL comparison: Roquan Smith


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    Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick and Charger Report on Twitter @NickCothrel & @ChargerReport for more Chargers coverage.