Philadelphia Eagles First-Round Mock Draft: Week 16 Edition

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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Philadelphia Eagles
Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

Bulldogs . Nakobe Dean. 23. player. 814. . Linebacker

Yes, it’s true; the Eagles haven’t drafted a true linebacker in the first round since 1979; however, if there was a time for that to change, it’s now. Nakobe Dean is not only a stellar talent and a freak athlete, but he’s also a converted safety (Howie Roseman’s favorite kind of linebacker). You can see that play into his favor when it comes to his coverage ability, as he has no problem keeping up with most running backs, tight ends, and even the occasional wideout.

Dean uses his impressive athleticism in all aspects of his game, not just in coverage but also in the run game and as an inside pass rusher. Like Gardner, Dean is a playmaker, something the Eagles have been desperately missing for what at least feels like a long time. He finished the 2021 season with two interceptions, a forced fumble, and an impressive five sacks.

It’s not just skill or athleticism for Dean either. He’s very cerebral, an intelligent player with a high IQ, exactly what the Eagles need leading their linebacking corps moving forward.

Dean is admittedly a bit undersized for the position, but in today’s game, it’s not uncommon for players of a similar size to succeed (Deion Jones, Eric Kendricks, Devin White). In spite of his lack of size, Dean has all of the tools to be a productive NFL player. Some would even say he has pro-bowl potential.

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It may be a bit of a longshot to suggest that the Eagles will draft a linebacker in the first round, but they certainly should consider Dean if he’s available at 23.