The Philadelphia Eagles may have gotten one of the steals of the 2022 NFL Draft when they selected former Georgia LB Nakobe Dean(5-11, 229 pounds) in the third round on Friday.
Dean was one of the 21 players invited to Las Vegas, and many expected him to be selected in Round 1. However, injury concerns may have caused him to drop, which surprised Dean.
“It was definitely nerve-wracking, especially not knowing exactly all the way why I was falling like that,” he said via video conference call. “But, at the end of the day, I feel like I got picked by a great organization, and I’m just ready to get to work…
“I’d be remiss to say that I wasn’t surprised. But at the end of the day, you know, thank God for the whole process. It’s done nothing but make my chip grow bigger, and I’m just ready to play. Ready to get to work.”
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Dean suffered a strained pectoral muscle during his prep for the draft, which he did not get repaired surgically. According to reports, the decision not to get surgery concerned some teams, but according to Dean, none of his doctors said he needed surgery.
“That was the thing that was so surprising and mind-boggling,” Dean said. “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.”
The 2021 Butkus Award winner(given to college football’s best linebacker) and All-American played with the newest Eagle, Jordan Davis, at Georgia, and he is excited to play with Davis again on the NFL level.
“He kind of clears things up for me,” Dean said. “Had me run a little bit more. He makes it easy for everybody, if you ask me, not just for the linebackers but for the rest of the [defensive line] and for the secondary. I feel like having him there is going to be great.”
Dean, who many called a great leader at Georgia, wished he would have gone earlier in the draft, but, in the end, he’s looking forward to the opportunity to play in Philadelphia.
“I’m ready to go,” he said. “I know mini-camp is next week, and I expect to be a full participant for that. And why I dropped, it’s not in my control—nothing I can do. I couldn’t – there was nothing I could do to make them pick me earlier. Just grateful and pleased that I have this opportunity.”
The Eagles needed linebacker help, and getting maybe one of the best linebackers in the draft in Dean could definitely strengthen that unit and the defense in 2022.