There’s no doubt in Todd McShay’s mind over who he’d like to see the New England Patriots select with their first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Patriots have a handful of needs to address heading into the draft that will be held later this month. Among the most pressing is linebacker, as New England’s group was exposed for being old and slow over the final stretch of the team’s 2021 season. An NFL hopeful who could help the Patriots get their linebacking corps back on track is Nakobe Dean, who McShay believes would thrive in Foxboro.
“The one player I would kill to see with the Patriots — just because I love him and know where he would excel the most would be in New England with Bill — would be (Georgia’s) Nakobe Dean,” McShay told his ESPN colleague, Mike Reiss.
“I’ve talked and met with him, and I’ve talked with multiple scouts and we all kind of agree: There isn’t a better player in this class in terms of football IQ. You match that IQ with what New England tries to do — they’re so multiple and differentiate from week to week — that would be a lot of fun to watch.”
McShay continued: “Find me a faster linebacker in terms of play speed in this class. You’re talking about nine guys who could get drafted on that defensive side for Georgia, and he was the best player on it. You’re talking about a player — with two linebackers next to him in [(Channing) Tindall and Quay Walker that are going to be drafted on Day 2 — and he’s two steps ahead almost every snap.”
The Patriots landed Dean in one of the more recent iterations of McShay’s 2022 mock draft. Should the longtime NFL draft analyst see his wish come to fruition April 28, Dean likely would be starting for New England come Week 1 later this fall.