Nakobe Dean making a strong case to be LB1 in the 2022 NFL Draft

2022 NFL Draft, Nakobe Dean, 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
2022 NFL Draft, Nakobe Dean, 2022 NFL Mock Draft. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports /

Breaking down what makes Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean one of the best linebackers in college football and in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Through about the halfway point of the college football season there has been absolutely no question who the most dominant defense in the country has been and that’s the Georgia Bulldogs.

Through seven games, they’ve managed to allow just 6.6 points per game, which is first in the FBS by a pretty big margin.  Obviously there’s still a lot of games left to play, however at this moment Georgia looks like it could go down as one of the best defenses to ever touch a college football field.

One of the leaders of that defense is linebacker Nakobe Dean, who is quickly building a case for himself to be the first linebacker off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Linebacker is a very difficult position to play because you’re asked to do so many different things.  Playing linebacker asks someone to be able to stop the run, play coverage, tackle well, and rush the passer and Dean is someone who checks all of those boxes.

The two most important traits for a linebacker to have to be able to do all of those things well are speed and good instincts and Nakobe Dean certainly possesses both of those. He is very good at identifying where he needs to go and getting there quickly.

Throughout his time at Georgia, he has consistently been effective at stopping the run as last year he led the team in tackles with 71 and this year he’s second with 30 so far.  He’s good at diagnosing where a run is going, has good speed to get to ball carriers quickly and is a reliable tackler.

As far as coverage goes, this is a part of a game that he’s really stepped up this season.  According to PFF, his passer rating against has dipped from 99.0 last season to 40.6 this season.  His speed allows him to be able to run with most running backs, tight ends, and even some receivers in coverage, which is something that is pretty essential to being able to cover as a linebacker in the NFL.

Now for perhaps the best component of his game, which is blitzing and rushing the quarterback.  According to PFF, this season in 50 pass rushes he has recorded 13 pressures and five sacks.  He is very good at timing his blitzes, beating offensive linemen with quickness, and chasing down quarterbacks.

Ultimately, Nakobe Dean simply has everything that it takes to be a very good linebacker in the NFL and he’s already proven it at the college level.  There are a few other linebackers who deserve LB1 consideration in the 2022 NFL Draft like Alabama’s Christian Harris and Utah’s Devin Lloyd, however as of now I give Dean the edge.