Breakout Candidate No. 2: Nakobe Dean, LB, Eagles
Not only is the next entry a former Bulldog, but he also roams the field in Philadelphia. Davis’ former college teammate was taken two rounds after him in 2022, and neither guy made the type of impact expected in Year 1.
But don’t worry, because Nakobe Dean is slated to start as the middle linebacker in 2023. The heartbeat of the Georgia defense during his tenure, Dean is a tone-setter in the locker room. Furthermore, he is a spark plug on the field.
The slightly undersized defender plays with the ferocity of a player twice his size. He moves at 100 mph and is a threat as a run defender, pass rusher, and in coverage. The Eagles lost multiple starters in the linebacker room, so Dean will have ample opportunity to break out this coming season.
Breakout Candidate No. 3: Daxton Hill, DB, Bengals
Jessie Bates left the team in free agency, leaving a void in the safety room. Not to mention Vonn Bell, Cincinnati’s ‘other’ starting safety, departing for Carolina in March. The good news? The Bengals prepared for this exact outcome.
Former Michigan defensive back, Daxton Hill, joined the squad after hearing his name called on Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft. Hill logged less than 15% of the total defensive snaps in 2022, but in his limited action, he provided optimism toward the future.
Now, Hill must blossom into the star the Bengals expected when using a first-round pick on him. Given his talent and the opportunity in front of him, Hill can be a true difference-maker on a Super Bowl contender.