Friday, May 6, 2022

Twitter debates Eagles are “absolutely stolen” despite serious warning signs

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There was a small army of fans pleading that the Philadelphia Eagles pick Nakobe Dean in the first round. They didn’t. They waited patiently as the Georgia stud fell further down the draft board due to injury concerns. The Eagles swooped in and grabbed him at the pick No. 83 in the third round.

Dean was a consensus first-rounder before the medical Red Flags, an explosive three-down linebacker who won a national championship alongside him last year College teammate Jordan Davis. The 6-foot, 225-pounder started 2021 in 15 games for the Bulldogs and finished with 72 total tackles (10.5 for losses) plus six sacks and two interceptions. He was voted Defensive Player of the Year by the SEC Focus on professional football.

His talent is undeniable when you throw at the tape, highlighted by quick feet and surprising agility. The questions always revolved around Dean’s height, something he’s struggled with since high school.

“My height has been questioned my entire life,” Dean told NBC Sports Boston. “I will continue to work at my craft and do what I have to do. And I know what I want to do, I know my goals, and I don’t feel like my size will prevent me from achieving my goal.”

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The medical warning signs are a real thing when it comes to Dean’s NFL future. He has a Laundry list of complaints: ankle, shoulder, foot, wrist, groin, among other injury worries that deterred many teams – and forced him through to the third round.

The main reason for his dramatic fall on the draft committee was his decision to turn down right shoulder surgery, per PFF’s Austin Gayle. And Dean may have to redshirt his rookie year due to a chest injury.

“For Dean, there are other factors at play,” he wrote David J Chao of Sports Injury Central. “As a linebacker on the smaller side – he stands at 6ft, 225lbs – his technique and arm strength are essential to his success. The pecs are an integral part of wrapping and completing tackles as rushers can gain strength from arm tackles.”

Injury worries aside, Dean is a total stallion at center defense and his new teammates have his back. Eagles cornerback Darius Slay wrote: “I talked him into it.” And defensive tackle added Jordan Davis: “Let’s show Philly how we do it.”

Remember, the Eagles aren’t in win-now mode, so they have the luxury of hiding a first-round talent like Dean and reaping the rewards in 2023. It was another smart move by Howie Roseman that had a blueprint to last—well, on paper, anyway. Time will tell how everything plays out in 2023 and beyond.

“We have many areas that we want to keep improving in this football team. This work isn’t going to stop,” Roseman said after Round 1. “It’s not going to stop on Saturday, it’s not going to stop on Sunday, and it’s not really going to stop until the trade line. Even then we will look at the waiver wire and keep working on it, trying to get better.”

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