PHILADELPHIA — Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean, one of the best players in college football last season, slid to the third round of the 2022 NFL draft before being selected with the 83rd overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Multiple sources told ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler that teams were concerned about Dean’s health issues, including a pectoral muscle injury. The sources said teams don’t believe Dean needs surgery, but there were already concerns about his size and medical concerns.
One source told Graziano that the medical concerns are not considered long-term issues for Dean. Independent doctors had cleared Dean, with letters sent to teams classifying the injury as a pectoral strain, a source told Fowler.
If Dean can remain healthy, the Eagles might have gotten one of the biggest steals in the draft. Dean was a driving force for the national champion Bulldogs, racking up 72 tackles (10.5 for loss), six sacks and two interceptions last season.
A 2021 Butkus Award winner and AP first-team All-American selection, Dean generated 19 pressures when lined up as an inside linebacker last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, the fourth most in the FBS. He primarily played inside linebacker (74% of snaps) but showed versatility playing outside and even at cornerback at times.
In five games against Associated Press top-10 opponents, Dean had 4.5 sacks and 29% pressure percentage (9.0 tackles at or behind line of scrimmage in those games).
This is the second significant linebacker addition this offseason for the Eagles, who signed former Los Angeles Charger Kyzir White to a one-year deal in free agency.
Dean will have at least one familiar face in Philadelphia, with the Eagles moving up to select fellow Bulldog Jordan Davis in the first round Thursday.