Each year, versatility becomes more and more coveted in defenders, and the 2024 NFL Draft has one of the most versatile cornerbacks to come out in recent years in Iowa CB Cooper DeJean. What does DeJean’s scouting report say about his NFL Draft projection, and how high might he come off the board?
Cooper DeJean Draft Profile and Measurements
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 209 pounds
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Iowa
- Current Year: Junior
Some players you hear that they’re meant for the NFL from the very start. DeJean is one of those players.
MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Big Board
DeJean was a four-star recruit and a top-150 national prospect coming out of Ida Grove, Iowa. He signed with Iowa as a safety but soon emerged as an All-American cornerback in 2022, racking up 75 tackles, three tackles for loss, five picks (three pick-sixes), and eight pass deflections.
In 2023, DeJean has been just as productive as he was a season ago. And as he trends toward the 2024 NFL Draft, many are wondering just how high he might go off the board in April. He’s an electric playmaker with rumored 4.3 speed — but how does it all add up?
Cooper DeJean Scouting Report
- Possesses rare mass and frame density for a CB and has good length along with it.
- Showcases great initial burst when triggering on plays and veering to match WRs.
- Fleet-footed mover with exceptional corrective twitch and recovery athleticism.
- Boasts impressive long-track recovery and gap-closing speed, hawking in front of balls.
- Can snap into phase and realign himself to trail WRs on fades and seam routes.
- Has the short-area freedom to adjust his tempo while staying in phase and tracking.
- Extremely natural zone defender with a smooth backpedal and fluid corrective feel.
- With disciplined technique, size, and short-area mobility, he can play the slot or boundary.
- Can quickly process attack angle fluctuations from WRs and adjust his hip leverage.
- Has the route identification skills and processing speed to swoop in front of curls.
- Keys in on QB’s eyes in zone and can throttle up to erase windows and manage space.
- Able to catch passes away from his frame and track throws over his shoulder.
- Squeezes WRs against the boundary and can shock WRs with physical extensions.
- Strong, disciplined, and physical run support DB who can be a mismatch on WR blocks.
- Routinely combats and sheds blocks and can square up on tackles with his agility.
- Sometimes loses his balance when sinking to match whip and out routes.
- Muscle-bound frame prevents him from fully sinking and redirecting on occasion.
- Doesn’t quite have elite fluidity and hip freedom, experiencing 180-degree delays.
- At times, he can better channel recovery speed out of transitions to close gaps.
- Occasional wasted motion in press-man can tug him too far off the line and open space.
- Sometimes halts his feet too early at stems and compensates by tugging on receivers.
- Can overcommit against double-moves and be a tick late to react and recover.
- Can more consistently play the ball through the entirety of the catch process.
Current Draft Projection and Summary
On my board, DeJean grades out as a top-25 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft who could feasibly challenge for top-15 capital, depending on schematic preference. It remains to be seen whether or not he’ll unseat Kool-Aid McKinstry as CB1, but DeJean is firmly in the Round 1 CB discussion.
DeJean’s traits and style mesh particularly well with zone and off-man schemes. He’s an explosive, gliding athlete at 6’1″, 209 pounds, with stellar space management skills, zone awareness, route IQ, and reaction quickness, and he also has the rapid closing speed to trigger and wash in front of ill-fated throws.
Naturally, with his mass, DeJean doesn’t quite have elite fluidity. He’s fluid enough with exceptional corrective athleticism, but there are times when he struggles to sink on sharper transitions. Nevertheless, DeJean has great discipline and foot speed in press-man, and he can use his length and physicality to dictate releases as well.
The tape evaluation speaks very favorably of DeJean’s diagnostic tools, both physical and mental. And at the end of the day, the production corroborates his talent. He’s a prolific ball hawk with unmatched playmaking statistics and a support defender with all-encompassing range, physicality, and utility.
There’s an outcome where DeJean splits time between the boundary, the slot, and field safety at the NFL level. Ultimately, he’s an extremely role-versatile player based on the game script. Let him manage and play in space, and let him crash downhill and attack blocks. Either way, he’ll produce from whichever alignment he takes on these jobs.
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