NAME: Nakobe Dean
HEIGHT: 6′ 0″
WEIGHT: 225 lbs
HOMETOWN: Horn Lake, Mississippi
HIGH SCHOOL: Horn Lake
Co-winner of the 2019 Newcomer of the Year award in his freshman year before being named a semi-finalist for the Butkus Award in 2020. Led the Bulldogs in tackles (71 total stops) and pressuring the QB on 13 occasions. In 2021 to date, he has registered 23 tackles (2nd on the team) and started every game at ILB. He also claimed his first career interception in the Auburn match.
Speed and Lateral Quickness
He shows great speed to be able to make plays on the ball and he can handle most RBs and TEs with ease. Lateral quickness is very evident on film; the way he tracks RBs while maintaining leverage is impressive.
He is very much in control of his movements and has really nice footwork, especially to control his pace and put himself in the right position to make a play.
Needs additional strength to be a successful ILB at the next level – he still has adequate leg strength for hit power but could do with adding 10 lbs to frame to cope with NFL demands.
Hip Flexibility and Bend
Dean changes direction so efficiently and has really smooth hips when transitioning from one direction to another – this is what allows him to fly from one sideline to another and flash the lateral quickness.
Tackling and Pursuit
I didn’t see a missed tackle on film: he always gets into the best positions to tackle, very clever at eyeing up which blockers are coming towards him and manages to take the shortest pursuit lane towards the ball.
Run Game & Blitz Ability
His run fits are amazing and it’s extremely rare he allows himself to be out of position or in a place that the OL has a blocking advantage. When blitzing, his slight frame rules out bullrushing players, but his speed means even inside blitzes can work with a swim move. Used a lot on delayed blitzes.
He gets a 100% mark from me in zone coverage, the way he gets depth with pedal technique is absolutely textbook, allowing him to keep eyes in backfield and see how the play unfolds, and there was no evident separation in his man coverage assignments either.
Identifies screens really quickly; his head is on a swivel constantly scanning for WRs coming near his zone across the middle – allows him to get into position early and be ready to make a play.
Dean is a really exciting prospect, and someone who has significantly boosted their stock at the start of 2021. He calls a lot of the motions and is responsible for calling to the DL when to shift, as they do often at UGA, which will stand him in good stead moving into the NFL.
Final Grade: 83/95 – Late First Rounder
NFL Comparison: Roquan Smith
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