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    Cooper DeJean’s Draft Profile | Iowa, DB Scouting Report

    Where does Iowa DB Cooper DeJean -- one of the most versatile and electric playmakers in the 2024 NFL Draft -- rank with his scouting report?

    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’s 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: 6’0 1/2″
    • Weight: 209 pounds
    • Length: 31 1/8″
    • Wingspan: 74 7/8″
    • Hand: 9 5/8″
    • Position: Defensive Back
    • School: Iowa
    • Current Year: Junior

    With some players, you hear that they’re meant for the NFL from the very start. DeJean is one of those players.

    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 was just as productive as he was as a true sophomore. He added 41 tackles, two TFLs, two interceptions, and five pass deflections to his career totals, earning first-team All-Big Ten recognition as a result.

    As he trends toward the 2024 NFL Draft, many are wondering just how high DeJean might go off the board in April, and what position he ultimately projects at best. He’s an electric playmaker with a rumored 4.3 speed (having not run at the NFL Combine) — but how does it all add up?

    Cooper DeJean Scouting Report

    Strengths

    • Possesses rare mass and frame density for a DB and has decent 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 feel in side-saddle.
    • With disciplined technique, size, and short-area mobility, can play the slot or boundary.
    • Can quickly process attack angle fluctuations from WRs and adjust his hip leverage.
    • Has the sharp 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.

    Weaknesses

    • Sometimes loses his balance when sinking to match whip and out routes.
    • Muscle-bound frame prevents him from fully sinking and redirecting at times.
    • Doesn’t quite have elite fluidity and hip freedom, experiencing 180-degree delays.
    • At times, has room to better channel recovery speed out of transitions to close gaps.
    • Non-elite fluidity and transition freedom impacts translatability as a man coverage CB.
    • 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.
    • On occasion, overcommits 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

    DeJean grades out as a top-25 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. There’s no question that he’s deserving of first-round capital. The real question is where he’ll play at the NFL level: cornerback or safety. In my opinion, he translates better at safety but can play in the slot or as the boundary cornerback in off-man, zone, and side-saddle looks.

    At around 6’1″, 209 pounds, DeJean is an explosive, gliding athlete with stellar space management skills, zone awareness, route IQ, and reaction quickness. Beyond those intrinsic traits, he also has the rapid closing speed to trigger and wash in front of ill-fated throws.


    With his mass, DeJean doesn’t quite have elite fluidity. He has exceptional corrective athleticism, but there are times when he struggles to sink on sharper transitions. He has good discipline and foot speed in press, and he’s physical — but his inconsistency with redirections may prove more difficult to counteract against comparable NFL athletes.

    Nevertheless, 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 and support defender with all-encompassing range, physicality, and utility.

    Because of this, DeJean projects especially well as a field safety with slot and boundary versatility. As a safety, DeJean would be able to play with his eyes to the ball most often. He manages and plays in space with proficiency, has universal alignment versatility in zone and off-man coverage, and is a playmaking force at multiple levels.

    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. And in a role that plays to his strengths on a situational basis, he has impact starter potential.

    Draft with your friends today! PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator now supports multiple drafters during the same draft! Ensure your player rankings are up to date on the 2024 NFL Draft Big Board and you know what every NFL team needs before drafting.

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