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MORSE: 2022 NFL Draft – 1st Round Projection

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
3 weeks ago at 10:00 am ET
Posted Under: 2022 NFL Draft

MORSE: 2022 NFL Draft – 1st Round ProjectionJerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports

It’s finally Draft Day, something we have been preparing for since December.  This will be a complete 1st round projection.  The projection will also be my entry into the 23rd Annual Bama Draft Day contest the Razor’s Edge Tailgate group has been conducting.  This year will be a little different with the passing of my long-time friend Richard “Bama” Oljey.  The contest is named for Bama.  He was a friend to many of the former Patriots players and their families.  I will never forget the greeting that Bianca Wilfork had for Bama at a Patriots away game in Miami.  Vince was laid up with a foot injury but that didn’t prevent Bianca from putting on a BBQ spread for the team the night before the game at the team hotel.   When Bianca saw Bama from a distance she yelled out to him, Alabama.  Bianca came over and gave Bama a big hug and a kiss.  Back in the 80s when we worked together, Bama and I would take the day of the draft off work and watch it on TV back when it was broadcast during the day and wasn’t the spectacle it is now.  Here we go!

I utilize The Athletics Dane Brugler’s The Beast Draft Guide https://theathletic.com/3233612/2022/04/07/2022-nfl-draft-guide-the-beast-dane-brugler/ as a source for many of the thumbnail evaluations.  The Athletic is a pay site.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Travon Walker Edge Georgia –  Some think that Walker is the best player in the draft.  Jacksonville is having an internal struggle, between GM Brent Baalke, coach Doug Peterson who wants either Alabama OT Evan Neal or North Carolina St. OT Ikem Ekwonu, and owner Shad Khan.  Baalke wants Walker, Khan wants Adrian Hutchison. Baalke better be right about this pick, his job might be on the line.
  2. Detroit Lions– Adrian Hurchison Edge Michigan –  Solid consolation prize!  This is one of the few times the top of the draft is really unknown.  Hutchison has everything you want in a top pick, size, speed, pass-rush ability, and capability to hold the edge and stop the run.
  3. Houston Texans Ickey Ekwonu OT North Carolina State –  at 6’4” he is a little short for OT, but does have 34” arms to lockout defenders.  According to The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s The Beast 2022 Draft Guide,  “Overall, Ekwonu isn’t a refined blocker and must improve his landmarks, but he is nimble (4.96 40), powerful, and should continue to get better and better as his technique and awareness mature at tackle.  He has the traits to become  an elite blocker in the NFL “.
  4. New York Jets – Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati –  Jets have been enamored with Gardner for some time.  He is a shut-down, man cornerback.  In the pass-happy NFL, having a shutdown corner is a priority.
  5. New York Giants – Evan Neal OT Alabama – The giant is 6’7”+ and an accomplished blocker in both the run and pass games. He is a battle-tested warrior having played in some of those big games like the Championship. A three-year starter with 40 starts in his career.  Neal is one of the youngest players in this draft at 21.5 years old.
  6. Carolina Panthers – Kenny Pickett QB Pittsburgh – The Panthers can’t wait for their QB of the future.  Lots of pressure on Coach Matt Rhule to win now.   He will resist and play Sam Darnold as a short-term solution but Pickett will eventually be the man.  Most rookie QB’s thrown into the NFL fire get cooked and flame out.  Patriots Mac Jones is the rare exception.  Pickett had a brilliant career for the Pitt Panthers.  He had a career 62.5 completion percentage and over 12,000 yards passing and 81 TDs. There are few quality QBs in this draft and if you want one you better take him early, even if your evaluation says he isn’t a 1st round selection.
  7. New York Giants – Kayvon Thibodeaux G-men hit the daily double with Neal and Thibodeaux.  The Beast said this about the Edge players, “Overall, Thibodeaux isn’t a fluid mover, and his impact runs hot-and-cold, but he understands how to create leverage as a pass rusher with his length, flexibility, and hand strength. He draws comparisons to Jadeveon Clowney with NFL teams and has the talent to develop into a high-end starter if he stays committed.
  8. Atlanta Falcons – Drake London WR USC – I had removed London from my Patriots board because of his failure to run the 40-yard dash, 1st at the Combine citing that he was still injured. Then he didn’t run at the USC Pro Day.  Next, he schedules a private workout, then postponed it until April 15th.  He does the pass-catching, route running but refuses to run the 40.  Many have Jameson Williams in this spot.
  9. Seattle Seahawks – Derek Stingley CB LSU – As a freshman he was dominant. This past year he was injury-prone.  When healthy, he would have been the number one CB.  Seattle has many holes to fill and they need a big productive draft this year.
  10. New York Jets Jameson Williams WR Alabama – Can you believe the luck the Jets have in landing Gardner and Williams.  Questions remain on how Williams will recover from his knee surgery.  Reports are that he and Metchie are ahead of schedule.  I just wouldn’t take the chance with a #1 pick on a player coming back from knee surgery.
  11. Washington Commanders Garrett Wilson WR Ohio StateThe Beast Draft Guide said this “Elite body control and ball skills to make fluid midair adjustments … explosive twitch in release package … defenders better get their hands on him quickly, because he has the short-area explosion to create separation in tight spaces … rare understanding of route leverage for his age … snatches without breaking stride and instinctively sets up his cuts … decelerates on command to give tacklers the slip … plays bigger than he is, and shows the reflexes and contortion skills to win when covered (impressive 61.8 percent success rate in contested situations) … physical with the ball in the air to high-point with his long arms, strong hands and terrific hand-eye coordination … responsible for four plays of 50-plus yards (three receptions, one rush) in 2021 … punt return experience, averaging 5.9 yards per return (35/205/0) … impressive competitor with the intangibles desired for the next level (NFL scout: “The OSU coaches say he carried himself with the demeanor and work ethic of a professional when he was a freshman.”) … played primarily in the slot in 2020 and outside in 2021 … production improved each season, and he leaves Columbus ranked top-10 in school history in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.”
  12.  Minnesota Vikings – Jermaine Johnson Edge Florida State – The Vikings are jumping up and down that Johnson fell to them.  The Beast Draft Guide had this on Johnson, “Prototypical frame and length … uses his lateral agility and strong hands in chorus to sidestep blockers and capture the corner … his go-to moves are a powerful swipe/rip and timely long-arm stab … plays behind his strong punch and lets his long arms work for him as a pass rusher … stride length keeps blockers on their toes … alert and physical in the run game … takes accurate pursuit angles with an open-field burst to close … able to retrace and find the football … hit, lift, drive tackler and uses his length to lasso ball carriers in space … plays with outstanding effort, and the added snaps as a senior weren’t too much for him (defensive snaps jumped from 27.0 per game in 2020 to 61.3 in 2021) … teammates call him a “first-in, last out” and “right attitude” type of guy … highly productive senior season with Florida State, leading the ACC in tackles for loss and sacks (also led all Power 5 defensive linemen in tackles).”
  13. Houston Texans – Kyle Hamilton S Notre Dame –  Solid Centerfield Safety and a very safe pick for Houston.  They need a lot of help and the combo of Ekwonu and Hamilton, although not sexy, provides them with two solid picks to start the rebuild on.  The Beast Draft Guide said this about Hamilton, “Lithe, loose athlete with tremendous length … elite range from depth thanks to his long-striding speed … displays an explosive trigger to key and chase down plays … high football IQ and anticipates well … quickly reads top-down and sorts through route combinations … excellent balance as a tackler, and his finishing skills improved each season because of his ability to stay centered and controlled … boasts a larger tackling radius than your average safety … three-level blitzer with tactical attack angles … ferocious hitter to dislodge the football at contact … has that “my ball” mentality … doesn’t let interception opportunities go to waste, averaging 10.0 yards per return with one pick-six (8/80/1) … has the body type to easily carry 230 pounds … highly versatile and comfortable playing middle-deep, split safety or in robber coverage … team captain as a junior … humble by nature and very mature for his age (NFL scout: “Everyone who knows him says he’s extremely ambitious but grounded … the ego doesn’t match the talent with this kid.”) … consistent accolades and production on his college résumé, including making plays on punt coverage as a gunner.”
  14. Baltimore Ravens – Jordan Davis NT Georgia – Like we needed to add Mount Davis to the Ravens defense! Davis is so big he has his own area code!  All joking aside, Davis ran a 4.78 40-yard dash at 341 lbs.  He immediately impacts whichever defense selects him as a two-down run stopper.  He won’t add anything to the pass rush game.
  15. Philadelphia Eagles – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State – They have the ammo to move up in the draft if they want someone in particular.  I think their best bet is to stay and take two good players.  The Beast Draft Guide had this to say “   Skilled at tracking and adjusting to the football, especially when he has the defender in a trail position … uses late, crafty hands to mask the arrival of throws … above-average route acceleration to eliminate cushions and create conflict for zone or off-coverage … wins early with his release package and has the speed to be a legit deep threat … controlled, linear route angles and doesn’t drift … smooth body movements in and out of route breaks with minimal gear-down needed … remarkable along the sideline, dragging and toe-tapping like a dancer … always working back to the ball and keeping plays alive … played on punt coverage all four seasons (95 snaps) and had two blocked punts his first two seasons … humble by nature and considered the “big brother” in Ohio State’s talented wide receiver room (former Ohio State teammate Jameson Williams: “Chris is an excellent person … just the big bro to everybody.”) … led team in receiving touchdowns three consecutive seasons … leaves Columbus ranked third on the school’s all-time reception list (176) and fifth in receiving yards (2,711).”   There is a possibility that Pittsburgh tries to trade up ahead of New Orleans to take Malik Willis.
  16. New Orleans Saints – Malik Willis QB Liberty – Willis’ height (6’.04”) doesn’t bother NO since they have had Drew Brees for so many years. The Beast Draft Guide  said this about Willis, “  Loose athlete and moves with bounce in his steps … natural play-extender because of his dynamic speed and movement skills … despite slight load-up action, the football explodes off his hand … generates outstanding zip on throws to the far hash or sideline … his best throws on tape were vertical touch passes down the seam or sideline … throws a confident ball and not afraid to deliver before receivers come out of their break … average height, but compactly built and runs through arm tackles without getting knocked off his path … impressive body strength in the pocket … elusive athleticism to make defenders miss on designed runs and when pressured … lowered his fumbles from 17 as a junior to only three as a senior … routinely played through injuries and developed his pain tolerance … coaches describe him as “coachable” and “observant” and the type of competitor willing to do whatever is asked of him to get better … posted a 17-6 record (2-3 record vs. Power 5 opponents) in his 23 career starts … set several passing and rushing records at Liberty, including the single-season record for total touchdowns (40) and single-game record for total touchdowns (seven). “
  17. LA Chargers – Charles Cross OT Mississippi – They are thanking their lucky stars that Cross has dropped into their laps.  The second-youngest player in the 1st  The Beast Draft Guide had this to say about Cross ” Athletic and fluid with the shuffle quickness to mirror rushers laterally … stays patient in pass protection and his countermeasures get better with each game … does an outstanding job framing rushers, relying on his timing and precision with his hands … able to use his length as a recovery device to steer shifty rushers away from the pocket … doesn’t have the anchor to stone bull rushers, but has the lower-body flexibility and play strength to wear them down … good feel for body position as a zone blocker in the run game … displays strong hands to seal and leverage run lanes … rolls his hips into contact and catches himself when he overextends … impressive vision and block awareness for a player his age … was a sub-270-pound player when he arrived at Mississippi State and worked hard to add functional playing weight … started 22 of 23 games the last two seasons and held up well versus SEC competition.”
  18. Philadelphia Eagles – Devin Lloyd LB Utah – Fast and smart. This is what The Beast Draft Guide had to say about Lloyd.  “Instantly accelerates and closes the gap with his long strides … doesn’t lose foot races to the sideline … quick to key-and-diagnose and make plays in the backfield (totaled 43.0 tackles for loss in 33 games the last three years and ranked No. 2 in the FBS with 22.0 tackles for loss in 2021) … face-up tackler who pounces on his prey … allows his long-levered, angular frame work for him … skilled block-slipper due to his short-area quickness and body control … scrapes from gap-to-gap and fills with violence … able to leverage gaps because he arrives before the blocker … active blitzer with excellent timing and knifing quickness … very aware in coverage and covers a lot of ground when he drops (moves like a former safety) … has the fluid lower body to quickly react with the eyes of the quarterback … high school wide receiver and notched five career interceptions (four as a senior), with three returned for touchdowns … two-time team captain and described as a “student of the game” by his coaches (Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham: “He watches as much film during the course of a week as anybody we’ve ever had here.”) … played both the “Rover” and “Mac” linebacker positions in the Utah defense … saw time on each special teams coverage (523 career snaps) … durable and productive.”  Nice double-tap for Eagles with Olave and Lloyd. “
  19. New Orleans Saints – Treylon Burks WR Arkansas – With the sudden ineffectiveness after Michael Thomas’ injury, it’s time to get another big-time receiver.  The Beast Draft Guide had this to say about Burks “  Large, sturdy frame with body thickness and fluidity … dangerous with the ball in his hands thanks to his acceleration, vision and competitiveness … above-average body control and ball skills to make impressive adjustments to passes… out-rebounds opponents, and defenders on his hip don’t disrupt his concentration … draws defensive penalties thanks to physicality and ability to play through contact … tracks the ball naturally over his shoulder … effective deep target (slot fades, go routes, etc.) — caught 12 of 18 targets of 20-plus yards in 2021 (zero drops) … uses jab steps to quickly enter his routes and stack corners … doesn’t lose speed out of breaks, and has the juice to run away from pursuit … maintains route balance while hand-fighting for position … waits until the final moment to attack back-shoulder throws … competes with warrior toughness and often plays through injuries … effective blocker, and play strength is the result of his work in the weight room (380-pound bench press, 500-pound squat, 320-pound power clean) … averaged 10.8 yards as the team’s featured punt returner as a true freshman (12/130/0) … experienced lining up outside, slot, inline and in the backfield … became the fourth player in school history to record a 1,000-yard receiving season.”
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Desmond Ridder QB Cincinnati – This is not the position Pittsburgh wants to be in. Now that Willis is gone, they want to trade out of this spot.  The only team that might move up is Dallas for DeVonte Wyatt.  If they stay they will be forced to pick a QB they don’t have rated as a 1st round talent.  In fact, the consensus is there are only 15 players with 1st round grades.  The talent from 16-44 is relatively the same.  The Beast had this to say about Ridder.”  He had 49 career starts at Cincinnati with 62.1 career Completion percentage and an 87/28 TD to Interception ratio in his career.
  21. New England Patriots – Trent McDuffie CB Washington – I would be running to the podium if McDuffie was available. There may be some interest from other teams for Wyatt or Tackle Trevor Penning.  The way the Patriots look at their Draft Board is they see five players with similar grades in McDuffie, Gordon, Booth, Hill, and Elam.  That gives them quite a range to trade into the 2nd  They give up the extra year (5th-year option) on 1st round contracts.  That is figured into the price paid for the trade.   Don’t ever be surprised if and when the Patriots trade.  The Beast Draft Guide said this about McDuffie ‘    Above-average athleticism and anticipation … explosive in his click and close because of his balanced pedal and footwork at the top of routes … quick and patient with his transitions and doesn’t panic, which allows him to stay attached to receivers … covers with the confidence and mental process of an NFL veteran … has a quick processor to handle double-play calls and make appropriate checks based on formation and situation … fundamentally focused, and the Huskies scheme has him well-prepared for NFL life … creates leverage in the run game with his pursuit angles and ability to shake blockers … low, controlled tackler with plus [230] competitive toughness … energetic motor and makes tackles from the opposite side of where he started … averaged 8.2 yards per punt return (9/74/0) … highly coachable and mature with a process-oriented mindset.”  My priority is a shutdown, man CB 1st, then a speedy LB.  Some fans want to see a run-stuffing, interior pressure D lineman.  Wyatt fits that bill.   Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston in his 1st round projection had Georgia LB Quay Walker as the selection.   DeVonte Wyatt has had some personal issues crop up over the past couple of days (Misdemeanor charges from 2020)  that may take him off the Patriots Board and make other teams shy away from trading for him.  This was probably placed out there by a representative of another player hoping to push Wyatt down the board.  That is worth watching.
  22. Green Bay Packers – Jahan Dotson WR Penn State – They need to replace Davante Adams (a tall order).  This is what The Beast Draft Guide said about Dotson” Outstanding speed before and after the catch … uses lower-body suddenness to release and separate mid-route … crafty route runner and nestles in the corner’s blind spot … executes double-moves very well and is often left waiting for the ball to arrive downfield … big, strong hands and plays through the football (only two drops on 138 targets in 2021) … excellent tracking skills and displays the “my ball” confidence of a much bigger player … body control and hand-eye coordination make spearing the football mid-stride a breeze … 10 of 21 career touchdowns were 40-plus-yard receptions … served two seasons as PSU’s main punt returner, averaging 14.0 yards per return with one touchdown … experienced across the formation (slot and outside) … wasn’t a team captain, but coaches speak highly of his veteran presence in the receiver room … production increased each season in Happy Valley — catches (91), receiving yards (1,182) and touchdown catches (12) in 2021 each rank second in a single season in school history.”
  23. Arizona Cardinals – Zion Johnson OG Boston College – Arizona fills a need here and they get the top OG in the draft.  Johnson is a road-grater, an earth-mover.  He is 6’4” but built low to the ground with big legs to move the opposition in the run game.  He proved that at the Senior Bowl practices.   If the Patriots didn’t have such pressing needs at other positions I would have gladly taken Johnson.  He is going to be a good one for years to come and is a plug-and-play player from day one.
  24. Dallas Cowboys DeVonte Wyatt DT Georgia – Some think Wyatt will be a better overall DT than Georgia teammate Jordan Davis.  Wyatt has misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass, damage to property, and family violence from a Feb 2020 incident in the dorm hanging over his head.  That didn’t stop Kirby Smart from playing him for two years and won’t stop Dallas and Jerry Jones from drafting him.
  25. Buffalo Bills- Christian Watson WR North Dakota State –  Best receiver nobody has heard of.  He put on a show at the Senior Bowl practices.  He had the production at ND St., an FCS school.  He showed off his 6’3” frame and 4.36 speed at the Combine.  He was smooth in his fieldwork and catching the ball.  Some are surprised he snuck into the 1st round, I am not.  Buffalo could have taken Breece Hall RB Iowa State here, but they can always get an RB later in the draft.
  26. Tennessee Titan – Kenyon Green OG Texas A&M – This fills the need for the Titans and they get a very good player that barring injury, should start for years to come.  At 6’ 3.7”, 324 lbs with long arms, the SEC 1st team all-conference player, two-time consensus All-American player, started 35 straight games in his three years in the SEC. The Beast Draft Guide had this to say about Green.  “Wide, a balanced mover with plus body control … owns heavy, physical hands to stun his target and control the chest of defenders … able to engage and lockout with NFL-quality functional strength … picks up pressures from depth and sinks at contact to stop rushers cold … explosive out of his stance with the mobility to effectively pull, trap, reach and execute combinations … allowed only one sack over the last two seasons … competes with the right mentality — he’s mean and doesn’t apologize for it … both of his parents were collegiate athletes … aside from skipping the 2021 bowl game, he played in every game the last three seasons and spread his 35 starts across four positions (left guard, right guard, left tackle, right tackle).”
  27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tyler Linderbaum OC Iowa – What is it about Iowa and Offensive Lineman in the NFL.  They are just a factory pumping out good ones every year?  Tampa Bay fills a need here with Linderbaum.  He is a little shorter than I would like and might get pushed around a bit, but his technique is flawless and he can get to the next level.  He may be overpowered on occasion.  The Beast Draft Guide had this to say.   Quick off the ball, and flies out of his stance to reach the three-technique … excellent on-the-move run blocker with his ability to gain leverage, seal and create lanes … flexible hips and lower body to smoothly redirect and explode into defenders … displays impeccable timing on combination blocks … consistently climbs to the second level and removes linebackers from the play … has physical hands and is a brawler at contact … displays tight hands in pass protection, with elbows that rub his ribs … drops his hips and keeps his feet underneath him to anchor at shallow depth … consistently blocks past the whistle with the bulldog mentality to finish every play … innately motivated, but also humble and was named a team captain in 2021 (head coach Kirk Ferentz: “I don’t know if it gets any better than Tyler.”) … plays hurt and doesn’t allow injuries to greatly affect his play … started every game at center the past three seasons (35 consecutive starts).”
  28. Green Bay Packers – Trevor Penning OT Northern Iowa  Penning is flat-out mean.  He constantly finishes off his blocks, sometimes after the whistle.  He gets called for that and doesn’t really care.  He dominated the Senior Bowl practices tossing D-lineman around like they were ragdolls.  Green Bay has a replacement for the oft-injured David Bakhtiari at Tackle.  This what The Beast Draft Guide  said about Penning “Owns ideal measurements with his tall, well-proportioned body along with his long arms and big hands … moves with athletic footwork in his setup and slide steps … plays wide in his pass sets with enough lower-body quickness to hold up on an island … uses his length to steer rushers and maintain pocket integrity … able to sink and reestablish his anchor versus bull rushers … powerful at contact in the run game and creates torque from his hips to his hands to bury defenders … competes with a nasty demeanor and doesn’t apologize for it … he prides himself on his intense personality while playing (“When I’m on the field, I’m looking to embarrass who I’m going against. No mercy.”) … was only 210 pounds as a high school junior before moving to the offensive line and worked his tail off to gainweight and develop in the weight room (broke the school’s squat record by doing 625 pounds) … didn’t miss a game due to injury the last three years and logged starts at three different positions (left tackle, right tackle, right guard).”
  29. Kansas City Chiefs – Kaiir Elam CB Florida    Elam has the makeup speed that makes him a good cover corner in man-to-man defense.  Florida put him on an island against some of the top receivers in the SEC (Williams and Burks).  This is what The Beast Draft Guide had to say. “  Big athlete with an ideal build for the position … smooth strider and controlled in his turn and run to carry speed vertically … keeps his upper and lower bodies synchronized … has the playing strength to reroute receivers at the line of scrimmage … above-average ball skills and aggressively plays through the hands of receivers … much more comfortable when he keeps things in front of him as opposed to playing with his back to the ball … eager run defender and flies downhill to make open-field stops on screens … selected by the coaches to represent Florida at the SEC Leadership Council in 2021 (former head coach Dan Mullen: “He’s been a high-character, hard-working guy from the day he got here.”) … grew up with an NFL player for a father and will be prepared for professional life.”  He allowed less than a 50 % reception rate last year against him and was targeted only 39 times.  Picked up 7 penalties last year 4 for holding, and 2 for Pass Interference.
  30. Kansas City Chiefs – George Pickens WR Georgia –   They need another big-play receiver and I think they found one in Pickens.  The Beast Draft Guide said this about Pickens “Tall, long athlete with growth potential … has both short-area quickness and deep speed … wins over the top with the ball-tracking skills to go and get the football … graceful in midair to make full-extension grabs … comfortable catching the ball away from his frame … makes tight, 90-degree cuts to square off routes … sinks and snaps hips on comebacks … fluid at the stem to hit another gear on a post or corner routes … works back to the ball at all three levels … 71.1 percent of career catches resulted in a first down or touchdown … powers through press and plays with some dog to him … looked like he belonged in the SEC the moment he arrived in Athens as a true freshman … experienced lining up inside, outside and all over the formation.”  Pickens is tall at 6’3” 195 lbs.  He needs to add some weight.  Only had 10 starts in the SEC.  Missed 1st 11 games of the 2021 season with a knee injury. “
  31. Cincinnati Bengals Tyler Smith OT Tulsa – Another massive big boy, at 6’4.5” 324 lbs is the pick over Bernhard Raimann because of the age difference.  Raimann is 25 and Smith has just turned 21.  The Beast Draft Guide had this to say about Smith “  His frame, length and athleticism are attractive starting points … carries his 325 pounds well … agile footwork with the movement skills to cut off difficult rush angles … bends well with the lower-body flexibility to quickly redirect, reset or recover … able to anchor at shallow depth … generates easy power with his upper body to torque or throw rushers out of the club … flashes violence in his hands with outstanding grip/sustain strength … excellent leg drive in the run game to displace defenders … displays the inline power to wash defenders and create a running room … embraces the bully role and finishes with an aggressive attitude to put his man on the ground … was near 350 pounds when he got to college and started to get more serious about his nutrition.”
  32. Detroit Lions Nkobe Dean LB Georgia – The story about Dean, an undersized tackling machine, is that he is so smart and recognizes plays so well that he is moving toward the ball before the play develops.  He learned the playbook so well as a freshman that he was directing players into positions that early in his career.  It was like having another coach on the field.  He studies film like a maniac.  This is what The Beast Draft Guide said about Dean “  Athletic pursuit player and his closing speed jumps off the screen … explosive trigger to beat blockers to the point and get on the ball carrier before they can make a move … quickly corrects false steps with fluid redirect skills to get back on track … highly skilled as a Blitzer because of his downhill speed and ability to knife through gaps to avoid blockers … moves like a missile in the run game thanks to his above-average instincts … sees routes develop in coverage … has both the finishing strength and hand technique to be a dependable tackler from different angles … his Georgia teammates call him the unquestioned leader of the 2021 national title team, and his past coaches use words like “selfless”, “intense”, and “culture-changer” to describe his character … smart on and off the field and prioritizes academics, graduating high school with a 4.3 GPA and carrying a 3.55 GPA in mechanical engineering at Georgia … durable and started all 25 games the last two seasons, including his All-American junior year.  I am reading his profile and if he wasn’t 5’11” 229lbs I would think he would be perfect for the Patriots.  Dean did not run the 40-yard dash at the Combine and didn’t perform it at the Georgia Pro Day. He cited a Pectoral injury as the reason he didn’t run.  Not running makes me skeptical!”

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