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2022 NFL Draft: Georgia LB Nakobe Dean shouldn’t be sliding down boards

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Nakobe Dean (17) celebrates during the first quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports

Nakobe Dean was at the forefront of one of the most dominant defenses college football has ever seen in 2021. 

The off-ball linebacker was instrumental in the Georgia Bulldogs avenging their recent struggles against the Alabama Crimson Tide to win the program’s first national itle in over 40 years. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart even referenced Dean as the “Commander in Chief” of their championship defense that was littered with more first-round prospects than one can count on one hand. 

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Dean was thought to be a top-15 prospect after Georgia won the College Football Playoff and he earned the highest PFF grade of any FBS off-ball linebacker for the 2021 season (91.7). Yet, since the night the confetti dropped, his draft stock has been slipping.

Nakobe Dean’s draft stock according to PFF's mock draft simulator

Over the last few months, Dean has gone from a near consensus top-10 pick to falling out of the top 20, according to PFF’s mock draft simulator. However, the actual fall may be greater than the simulator indicates, as ESPN’s Matt Miller said in his latest draft notes piece that some scouts aren’t nearly as high on Dean as others, mentioning that some have given Dean a Round 2 grade. 

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