Nakobe Dean has said all of the right things since arriving to Eagles training camp. He has handled his responsibilities at camp with a serious demeanor and a business-like approach.
Dean is the frontrunner for the Eagles’ starting job at inside linebacker. He was a first-round talent that dropped all the way to the third round in the 2022 NFL Draft due to medical concerns.
Dean has all of the makings to be a staple in the middle of Philadelphia’s defense for years to come, but he has to earn it first.
T.J. Edwards will be his primary competitor in training camp. Edwards has spent three years with the Eagles, logging 26 starts over the past two seasons.
While it is expected to be one of the most competitive position battles in training camp, Dean is absorbing every bit of information he can get his hands on.
“I’m doing more studying. I’m becoming more of a student of the game than I already was. I feel like that’s helping me a lot,” said Dean.
He has been getting reps at the MIKE and WILL linebacker spots, allowing the Eagles to have options in their defensive schemes.
Dean is no stranger to expectations. Playing in the middle of the vaunted Georgia defense helped him understand what it’s like to uphold a certain standard of football.
“They push me just as much as they push anybody else. The expectation is high here. I love the organization in the fact that they hold guys to a standard,” noted Dean. “Just kind of how we did at Georgia, we held everybody to a standard that you got to play at.”
That “standard” helped Dean and the Bulldogs win a national championship last year. It’s easy to see why that same mentality can carry over with the Eagles.
And as long as the rook keeps up the pace, he should be a big part of whatever the Eagles defense does in 2021 – the same as he was with Georgia.
Just in hearing him address the media you can tell Dean is ready for the big stage. The draft day chip on his shoulder should only serve to further motivate the rookie.
Time will tell if defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon trusts Dean enough to anchor the Eagles’ defense. Eagles fans should be pleased as the early returns on the third-rounder appear to be positive.
Featured image via Griffin Zetterberg – USA TODAY Sports