Nakobe Dean Eagles has a mature approach to being a substitute

This is new territory for Nakobe Dean.

The decorated beginner linebacker made an immediate impact wherever he played. As a freshman at Horn Lake High School, Dean started out every starter and was a superstar. As a real freshman in Georgia in 2019, he also played a lot.

“But he didn’t,” Dean remarked quickly.

Real. But he was an important part of the rotation and was called the Bulldogs’ co-defensive newcomer of the year.

Ballyhooed college linebacker and draft steal made his NFL debut with the Eagles on Sunday in Detroit.

He played a total of three snaps in defense.

“As long as I’m getting better and I know what I can do and what kind of person I am, I know what kind of player I am, that’s good,” said Dean. “I love this band and as long as I get better and better, I’m happy with it.”

No wonder Dean deals with his present situation with the maturity we’ve heard about since his stay in Georgia. He’s not sulking, he’s not downstairs. He trusts his time will come.

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni often talks about how important it is for his players to understand their role on the team. Dean took it a step further.

It’s not just about understanding your role; it’s about buying, he explained.

“You have to,” said Dean. “I feel like if I were suspended from not playing a lot or getting a certain number of games or stuff like that, I wouldn’t be fully in-game for this team. But I am fully convinced. I am fully convinced. I think this band could be really special. So I keep working. I bought it and I enjoy it at every step. “

Even though he was not a beginner, Dean’s first game in the NFL was still a price to pay. His first defensive snap came as a linebacker in the goal-line package, and was given two more along the way. He also played a total of 15 snaps in special teams.

Dean said that when he first came to Georgia, he was always very nervous before the games. Since then, he has really worked to keep his balance. So he said he wasn’t nervous about his first NFL game … but understandably excited.

“It was great,” said Dean. “Just be there and live your dreams. Being in the NFL and taking that position. I’m here, but it’s time to keep working and getting better every day, day after day. ”

It was the first step in a long and fruitful career that he and the Eagles hope.

The reason Dean doesn’t start or play anymore is because the two defenders ahead of him – TJ Edwards and Kyzir White – have earned their places at the training camp. Edwards deserved the right to be the Eagles center back, and White deserved the right to be the initial underdog. After watching every training session this summer, it’s really hard to argue against these coaching staff decisions.

Dean does everything in his power to prepare if and when the Eagles will need him to play more.

“He just keeps working,” said Jordan Davis, who was a teammate with Dean in Georgia. “Nakobe works hard. He knows none of us come here expecting us to start or become a guy. At the end of the day, we just keep working on our personal development. When our number is called, we’ll be ready.

Many believed that Dean was the best linebacker in the draft until 2022, but he was only accepted in the third round, finishing 83 in the overall standings. The Eagles thought of drawing him in the second round with 51st place overall, but opted for mid-Cam Jurgens instead, thinking there was no way Dean would be available 32 picks later.

But due to an injury and light fixture (5-11, 231), Dean was shockingly still available after a crazy drafts slip. Despite all his injury concerns, Dean hasn’t missed a single training session since coming to Philly.

While still a reserve, Dean has dropped into film studies and asks tons of questions. He wants to do everything in his power to improve without taking those vivid defensive shots.

For now, a large part of Dean’s role in the Eagles is playing on special teams. He played a total of 15 Special Teams Snaps for Kickoff, Kick Return and Punt Return in Detroit. The good news for Dean is that special teams are nothing new to him, as they are to a lot of college celebrities.

“In Georgia (head coach) Kirby Smart will tell you that starters play on all special teams,” said Dean. It didn’t matter. We played with special teams. Our best players played with special teams. That’s what it was.

This experience gave Dean an edge and allowed him to get a taste of NFL football for the first time before finally getting more time to play on the defense.

Based on what we know about Dean, it’s only a matter of time.

“If my number rings,” he said, “I’ll be ready.”

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