Eagles teammates excited for Nakobe Dean’s big chance

Nakobe Dean has the inexperienced dot.

That’s not shocking. We just about already knew that was going to occur.

However because the Eagles took the apply discipline to start OTAs this week, we really bought to see it in entrance of us. The second-year participant from Georgia is the Eagles’ MIKE linebacker and carrying the inexperienced dot on his helmet, signaling his function because the on-field level man for the protection.

“I’m happy with him,” second-year security Reed Blankenship stated. “Me and him, we’re fairly shut buddies. Simply figuring out him and figuring out his work ethic and figuring out his management function that he’s going to should take, it feels actually good to see him on the market working.

“He seems comfy. He loves doing what he’s doing. He communicates everywhere in the discipline and I really feel sturdy about him.”

The Eagles clearly really feel fairly good about Dean too. As a result of they misplaced their two beginning linebackers from the 2022 season and made only one vital addition, bringing in Nicholas Morrow. The center linebacker job was all the time destined to be Dean’s and now he will get to show to everybody that he deserves it.

Only one participant on the sphere for every crew on the sphere wears the inexperienced dot, indicating that there’s an inner speaker within the helmet for communication with the play-caller. On offense, it’s clearly the quarterback. On protection, it’s mostly a linebacker.

Final 12 months, it was T.J. Edwards listening to Jonathan Gannon. This 12 months, it’ll be Dean listening to new DC Sean Desai.

It’s an enormous duty. And one the Eagles are entrusting to a younger participant who hasn’t actually performed a lot but on the NFL degree.

It was largely a redshirt rookie season for Dean, who performed a grand whole of 34 snaps on protection final season. Earlier this spring, Dean admitted he needed to play as a rookie, that he felt like he was able to play, however adjusted and accepted his function.

Dean dealt with his 12 months as a particular teamer with grace and he embraced it. However he needed extra.

And now he has it.

The Eagles used a third-round decide (No. 83 general) on Dean final 12 months out of Georgia. He was a severe consideration for the Eagles within the second spherical after they took Cam Jurgens with the 51st decide and so they had been shocked to see him nonetheless accessible after they chosen within the following spherical. It was a little bit of a draft free fall for Dean, who was the chief of a Nationwide Championship protection at Georgia.

There have been reportedly some issues about his well being — though he performed in all 20 video games final season — and his measurement in all probability isn’t for each crew. He’s listed at 5-foot-11, 231 kilos; It’s not 1995 anymore however Dean remains to be a bit undersized even in right now’s sport.

However there have been loads of causes for the Eagles to be bullish on Dean and he’s been exhibiting his teammates these qualities up to now this spring.

“We began within the weight room clearly, proper?” Morrow stated. “He’s very explosive and powerful. Then we bought into the conferences rooms, he’s good. He is aware of his stuff, he is aware of what’s occurring. Good communicator. So he’s doing an important job.”

Dean and Jordan Davis had been the primary two Bulldogs to invade the NovaCare Advanced final 12 months. This 12 months, they’ve been joined by three extra Georgia draft picks in Jalen Carter, Nolan Smith and Kelee Ringo.

Up to now two years, the Eagles have drafted 5 gamers who had been key cogs for a few Nationwide Championship-winning groups.

An enormous a part of enjoying the MIKE linebacker and having the inexperienced dot is the flexibility to speak. It’s one thing Dean did very effectively at Georgia and it’s a high quality that he’ll must show in 12 months 2 within the NFL. Davis has already performed at a excessive degree with Dean behind him, so he is aware of precisely what to anticipate.

“If we bought a play at Georgia the place he’s blitzing, I gotta be sure that I get out of his means,” Davis stated. “And he has to speak that. He’s a world-class communicator in terms of D-line and stuff like that. Simply having Nakobe, man, having him get his shot is nice. It’s nice. There isn’t a lot to be stated however I simply love seeing him have his alternative.”

Dean has been described as an Alpha character and stated he didn’t change that about himself in a backup function final season. In case you hear his faculty teammates speak about his function for the Bulldogs, it’s clear simply how a lot of a frontrunner he was. That prolonged off the sphere however it was an enormous job between the traces too.

There’s lots of Dean’s plate this 12 months. He’s a first-time starter on a protection with a brand new scheme, new coordinator and new gamers. It’s his job to be able to play but additionally to speak and be an on-field chief.

Lots of the Eagles’ success on that facet of the ball in 2023 might be on Dean’s shoulders. And his teammates can’t wait to observe him thrive.

“He has a chip on his shoulder,” Davis stated. “He all the time talks about it. And that’s what drives him. And simply seeing him get his alternative and for us to have a chance to play collectively, to be on the sphere on the similar time, that’s superb.”

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