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Nakobe Dean finally got a chance to play. When will he, other Eagles rookies get more?

Delaware Online | The News Journal
Delaware Online | The News Journal
 2022-12-06

PHILADELPHIA − Nakobe Dean has shown that he can play now, even though he still might have to wait until 2023 to get his chance.

The rookie linebacker played a season-high 15 snaps Sunday filling in for starter Kyzir White after White left the game with an undisclosed injury in the Eagles' 35-10 win over the Tennessee Titans.

Dean, the Eagles' third-round pick, tied for second with White with 5 tackles, one behind fellow linebacker T.J. Edwards. Dean had played a total of 4 snaps in the Eagles' first 11 games.

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Eagles coach Nick Sirianni didn't have an update on White's injury Monday, saying it's not "anything that we're concerned about."

So it's possible Dean will be back on the bench when the Eagles face the Giants on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Of course, it's hard for Dean or any of the rookies to complain about playing time when the Eagles are 11-1. And they haven't.

"We have a lot of faith in Nakobe to come in and make a play," Sirianni said. "We're really happy with Nakobe's development. And we're really happy with the way T.J. and Kyzir are playing.

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"Nakobe has to keep trying to make his way through special teams − and when he gets the opportunity to play."

First-round pick Jordan Davis, a defensive tackle, was playing about 35% of the snaps before he suffered a high-ankle sprain on Oct. 30 against Pittsburgh.

Since then, the Eagles added veterans Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh to go along with Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. Davis returned to the lineup Sunday and played just 6 snaps.

Second-round pick Cam Jurgens is behind veterans Jason Kelce at center and Isaac Seumalo at right guard. Jurgens played 11 snaps Sunday at center when Kelce left in the fourth quarter. He played 17 snaps total before that.

The Eagles also have sixth-round picks Grant Calcaterra, a tight end, and linebacker Kyron Johnson.

The situation could be different next season, at least for Davis, Jurgens and Dean.

That's because Davis and Milton Williams, the Eagles' third-round pick in 2021, are the only defensive tackles under contract for next season. As for Jurgens, Kelce, who's 35, has contemplated retirement during the last four offseasons.

At linebacker, Edwards and White are in the final year of their contracts. It's expected the Eagles won't re-sign both.

For now, Dean has realized that special teams will be his way onto the field. Here, he has made an impact.

Against the Titans, Sirianni said Dean's special teams play "really established the physicality that we wanted to play with," pointing to his tackle on C.J. Board on the second-half kickoff.

"It’s just been the normal college to NFL adjustment," Dean said last week, adding that he played special teams at Georgia. "I wouldn’t say (special teams) has been overly confusing because it’s not complicated at all. It’s just doing different techniques."

And waiting for his chance at linebacker.

Robert Quinn heading to IR

Defensive end Robert Quinn, who was acquired a week before the trade deadline in October, is heading to injured reserve to have arthroscopic knee surgery, the NFL Network reported.

The injury is not considered season-ending, but Quinn would have to miss four games, meaning he could return for the season finale on Jan. 8. If the Eagles get the top seed in the playoffs, they wouldn't play again until the weekend of Jan. 21-22.

The Eagles traded a fourth-round pick to the Chicago Bears for Quinn, 32. He had 1 sack in 7 games with the Bears, and none in 5 games with the Eagles.

Contact Martin Frank at mfrank@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Nakobe Dean finally got a chance to play. When will he, other Eagles rookies get more?

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