With the no. 32 pick, the Detroit Lions select Nakobe Dean.
This is a dream come true selection for the Detroit Lions. The star linebacker had once been considered a top-15 prospect by many, elected not to run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, which started some speculation about how fast the Butkus Award winner from last season, which is awarded to the nation’s top linebacker is.
Nakobe Dean had been the signal-caller for the historically great Georgia defense en route to a National Championship, finally slaying the dragon by beating Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Like Kayvon Thibodeaux, the Detroit Lions are expected to meet with Dean once again in person ahead of the NFL Draft. Oddly, Dean recently mentioned that the Lions are his lone scheduled in-person visit at the moment.
Dean is a bit undersized at 6-foot, about 225 pounds, and isn’t considered as athletic as, say, Devin Lloyd but is considered one of the brightest linebackers in the class. Dean possesses tremendous instincts, which helped him complete six sacks and 72 tackles in 2021 for the stout Bulldog defense.
The Bulldogs deployed a base 4-3 defense, and this is the look Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell mentioned earlier in the offseason that the defense would be shifting more to in 2022. NFL defenses need to be very diverse these days with all of the high octane passing offenses across the league forcing defenses into more nickel and dime looks which generally replaces linebackers with cornerbacks.
I expect to see a plethora of four-man fronts with two linebackers in support in 2022. Think of the Tampa Bay Buccanneers two years ago when they won the Super Bowl with Lavonte David paired with Devin White. If all goes as planned, the Detroit Lions will be able to pair second-year linebacker Derrick Barnes with Dean, but I wouldn’t rule out Jarrad Davis with Dean. Detroit also elected to bring back Alex Anzalone, who would be sandwiched in the middle when Aaron Glenn calls for a three-backer set.
Change from version 2.0: David Bell