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akobe Dean continues to get linked to the New England Patriots as the 2022 NFL Draft nears.
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Dean is coming off a superb season where he racked up six sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles last season with the Georgia Bulldogs.
ESPN Draft Expert Todd McShay has the Patriots taking the linebacker in his latest mock draft and it seems like Dean would be okay with that outcome. The linebacker spoke to NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry and it appears that his conversation with Bill Belichick went well ahead of this month’s draft.
That winning mentality is going to be needed in New England with the linebacking corps undergoing a bit of an overhaul with the departures of Kyle Van Noy and likely Dont’a Hightower (who has yet to sign a new deal). In their place will be Mack Wilson and Ja’Whaun Bentley.
Along with his great play on the field, Dean also seems to be quite a smart kid. He told Perry just how important his education was to himself and his family.
“I took my education just as serious as I took my sports,” Dean said. “Growing up, my mother, it was always education, education, education. It was never sports. Sports was just a hobby growing up until I got to high school.
“But as far as everything in the classroom translating to everything on the field, I feel like the study habits and retaining information helps me because it’s just like me trying to study certain equations and everything or how to do a certain problem. It’s just like trying to learn the playbook. … Just things like that kind of help me basically — it’s like a puzzle piece, you kind of put it together and it definitely helps me out a lot.”
With the Patriots being known for having a complicated playbook, that is just what fans will want to hear. It can take a while for rookies to get used to the speed and complexity of the NFL. While Dean will still need to get used to the style of play wherever he ends up, that process will likely be expedited due to how seriously he took his education.
Getting to play for the Patriots would no doubt be an honor for the All-American linebacker, but it will likely mean a little bit more due to his mom’s love for the organization.
“Growing up, my mother’s team was the Patriots. My mom is a big Belichick fan,” Dean told Perry.
The more that Patriots fans get to know about Dean, the more he seems like a perfect fit. The linebacker is projected to be a starter within his first two years according to NFL.com.
While fans will have to wait till the end of April to see if Dean ends up in New England, there seems to be more and more smoke surrounding the Patriots and the linebacker.