With the 2022 NFL Draft over, it’s time for some film rooms on this year’s rookie class. I will try and get to all the players and some UDFAs over the next few weeks. There are obviously a million scouting profiles out there so this is just my opinion but I’ve tried to backup basically everything I have said with film clips. I watched a lot of all22 on a number of rookies but I can’t share those clips on my own Twitter accounts (or I risk getting blocked), so I will sometimes use a few other accounts in here. After starting with Jordan Davis and Cam Jurgens, we are moving to fan favorite Nakobe Dean. The next post will be on James Bradberry, then we will get back to the rookies!
+ Ultra-competitive, physical guy. Plays hard, leadership qualities evident after reading about him
+ His quickness means he can avoid engaging with very strong offensive lineman and avoids them
He is undersized and will struggle to disengage against good OL, but his quickness allows him to avoid engagement with OL a lot of the time. He's one of those players that always seems to be in the backfield and causing havoc. pic.twitter.com/nd3UyvdUKX— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 21, 2022
+ Reads the game very well, is not just a fast guy.
He's also not a fast guy with no instincts or awareness who has 1 speed. Rather than overrun the play from the backside here, he slows down, finds the RB and brings him down for a short gain. He understands the position pic.twitter.com/sZFwmeKnin— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 21, 2022
Last positive for now, heres the instincts and intelligence again. He doesn't get fooled by the misdirection in the backfield and stays in his position and prevents an easy TD in the flat. He's just a good football player. pic.twitter.com/rU83TYIJ0F— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 21, 2022
+ Explosive athlete and closing speed jumps off the screen. Lightning fast. Short area speed is off the charts.
And then there's just the ridiculous speed to make plays such as this coming across the formation from the backside... Can't remember many Eagles LBs the past few years who can make this type of play. pic.twitter.com/WycP9IkPa2— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 21, 2022
+ Change of direction/ability to redirect is absurd. Very fluid, smooth athlete.
+ Zone coverage is very good, can drop to a spot and rally to the ball very quickly. Provides a lot of potential disguised coverage due to his speed.
My favorite part of Dean's tape is the versatility he brings in coverage though. He is a unique LB and will provide Gannon with such an exciting chess piece to mix up coverages. You instantly see how quickly he can backpedal and drop to a spot in zone coverage and the movement pic.twitter.com/TBLh4uFAeT— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 21, 2022
You won't get many LBs at all asked to drop into coverage on a slot WR after rotating from this position. He has the speed to help disguise coverage and you can see it on film all the time. pic.twitter.com/c7loGPoH7A— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 21, 2022
Anyone can run fast but if you can't cover when you get to a spot then it's worthless. Dean is good in coverage as well as being fast enough to help mix up coverages etc. Here he sprints from the LB position so they can bring a slot blitz and he wins pic.twitter.com/gvPNvSY5bT— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 21, 2022
+ Has the frame and athleticism to man cover running backs and can be split out wide
Little bit of contact but again you can see the ability to lineup with a RB and take him man coverage. He has better instincts in zone but you can absolutely use him in man on RBs. I'm excited to watch him and Kyzir White in coverage together! pic.twitter.com/74t8jPGw7s— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 21, 2022
Man coverage too? Oh yeah he can do that. Name the last Eagles LB you felt good about lining up in man coverage on the outside against a RB... He has good instincts in coverage and can man up with running backs (although you worry about his size vs. bigger tight ends) pic.twitter.com/SnHTVf3DJH— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 21, 2022
+ Excellent blitzer, good timing of knowing when to go and explosive burst gets him to the quarterback quickly
Little Nakobe Dean thread after getting around to some film... I am fascinated to see how the Eagles use his skills next year because he's a legitimately good blitzer from the LB position. Has the speed to shoot gaps before OL can adjust and his timing of the snap is great. pic.twitter.com/79HkfkXBsv— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 21, 2022
Once again, the anticipation and timing of the blitz is perfect. The Eagles didn't blitz their LBs much at all last year but none of them had the skillset that Dean has. pic.twitter.com/gZWkg6nzt6— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 21, 2022
In a lot of blitzing clips he looks unblocked but he's actually just beaten the OL and shot through the gap too quickly. He does a great job disguising the blitz here too and can explode from a standstill position without having to cheat and get closer to the LOS. pic.twitter.com/cu7umrEjxw— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 21, 2022
This play is nuts... The time it takes from him to get to the QB after the snap of the ball is ridiculous. Who was the last Eagles LB with the blitzing talent that he has? The Center has about half a second after snapping to somehow pick up Dean who just flies through the gap pic.twitter.com/fXPhwEbc86— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 21, 2022
And don't assume he only wins with quickness when he blitzes... He can take on RBs and TEs (although, this attempt by the TE is embarrassing) and get to the QB. I am hoping that Gannon gives him opportunities each game to go after the QB or it will feel a waste of such talent pic.twitter.com/5WhJj5QaAI— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 21, 2022
+ Should be a 3down linebacker, doesn’t need to leave the field.
- Was protected by an elite defensive line, including Jordan Davis!
- Is he big enough to man up with tight ends and carry them down the seam? You didn’t see many examples on film
- Misses a few too many routine tackles by flying into them and not wrapping up cleanly
Completely forgot to add some weaknesses... To be fair there aren't a huge amount except his size and obvious injury concerns. He does miss a few too many tackles and could definitely improve his technique and wrap up a bit better pic.twitter.com/Vc7vpbrjsx— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 22, 2022
Again this isn't a giant weakness but it does crop up time and again. His tackling can be a little erratic pic.twitter.com/tlpKSys2C5— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 22, 2022
- Clearly not the biggest or the strongest. Measures as an undersized linebacker. Won’t defeat lineman at the point of attack.
Forgot to post this final weakness so here we go... You can see the size creep up and occasionally he will struggle to get off blocks in the run game. He's undersized and it will happen. pic.twitter.com/oWx1vlCjP1— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) May 23, 2022
- Does overrun the play at times on outside runs
I went into watching Nakobe Dean thinking he may have been overrated by many fans considering where he was drafted. I changed my mind really quickly. The film is not just excellent but it’s perfect for the modern NFL. I expected to see outstanding blitzing as I had already watched Georgia when watching Jordan Davis, but the versatility in coverage and the ability to play man will be vital at the next level. The coverage element of his game caught me a little by surprise.
I have absolutely no doubt there are legitimate injury concerns that caused him to fall. I think there are concerns over his size, tackling and ability to cover tight ends down the seam considering his size and this may have caused him to fall out the 1st round but there’s no way he falls out the second round without injury concerns. I just don’t see it.
The Eagles haven’t had an athletic linebacker like Nakobe Dean for a long time and I am excited to see him play this year. Dean and Kyzir White should be an outstanding coverage linebacker duo on obvious passing downs too.
I think Dean should be a full time starter very early on in the season (if not day 1) and if his body holds up I think the Eagles got themselves a huge steal on day 3. Even if the injury concerns do crop up in the long term, it seems worth a 3rd round pick because the upside is a very good starter at linebacker who fits the modern NFL for a number of years.