Skip to main content

Is Georgia Bulldogs Nakobe Dean Lions Linebacker of the Future?

Scouting report on Georgia Bulldogs inside linebacker Nakobe Dean.

Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean’s draft stock is shooting up fast. 

Is it possible Dean could go as early as second overall, where Detroit would be selecting if the season ended today? 

Yes, it is possible.

Dean is the best coverage middle linebacker I have seen in my 40 years of being around the game. Dean’s pass-coverage ability is insane. 

Dean is also a force to be reckoned with when blitzing. 

Dean possesses rare ability and a rare skill set, which will create a unique gameday advantage. 

The 21-year-old creates different challenges and looks that opposing offenses do not normally see, on a week-to-week basis, from the middle linebacker position. The interior of an offensive line is nowhere near as adept at handling talented pass rushers as the offensive tackles are. 

Dean had 68 tackles (34 solo), six sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions in 2021. These kind of stats scream “playmaker,” and that is exactly what Detroit's defense needs. 

To put Dean’s sack stats in perspective, he has one less sack on the season than Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux produced in 2021 (seven). 

Lions fans needed to look no further than the Orange Bowl, when Georgia defeated Michigan, to see the kind of football IQ that Dean possesses. 

Dean put on a clinic, logging seven tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. On the sack, Dean was credited with reading Michigan’s play before the snap, which allowed him to get to Wolverines quarterback Cade McNamara

Detroit needs defenders who can do more than just make a tackle after the damage has been done. Detroit needs defenders who can stop the damage before it happens, and that is exactly what Dean can do. 


#17 Nakobe Dean - 6'0, 225 pounds

40-yard dash time: 4.52

2021 game film reviewed: Clemson, Florida, Arkansas, Kentucky and Auburn

Grade: First round (top 10)

Scouting Report

Physical, instinctual and athletic, every-down middle linebacker with speed, burst and range to be disruptive. Has an edge and presence. Has some Ray Lewis to him. Alert. Good initial diagnosis of a play. 

Against the run, uses hands to try to work through the trash to tackle/assist. Occasional difficulty shedding blocks and occasionally gets hung up too long. Gets lost inside at times. Average physical playing strength. Tends to get in the action once it reaches his level. Excellent range and chase on perimeters. Hunts it down. Heavy hitter who brings it, and has solid wrapping-tackling technique.

Against the pass, effective and backpedals well into zones. Looks hyper alert. Reacts quickly. Can turn and take off. Can carry assignments into the flats or vertically downfield. Has a nose for the ball. Able to cover a lot of ground quickly. Disruptive blitzing. Shoots and slices inward through open gaps, and has a real burst of speed into the pocket. Great close. Able to get there in time. Blockers tend to neutralize him. Best when kept clean. Dominant difference-maker.

Dean is a dynamic defensive option for the Lions with the second pick. Dean lined up inside next to Derrick Barnes, in the 3-4, could very well be the start of something special in Detroit.

Dean will be a perennial Pro Bowl player at the next level.