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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Cooper DeJean (CB – Iowa)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Cooper DeJean (CB – Iowa)

FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean.

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Cooper DeJean

Cooper DeJean (CB – Iowa)

6’1″ – 207 lbs.

Background:

Iowa native and four-star recruit who also had an offer to play quarterback coming out of school. Appeared in a reserve capacity in 2021, then mostly played corner but took some snaps as a nickel defender in 2022 and allowed 37/72 passing (51.4%) for 422 yards, two touchdowns, five interceptions and five breakups opposite Riley Moss. Appeared in 10 games this year and had a strong season: 20/46 (43.5%), 194 yards, two interceptions, and four breakups.

Positives:

Very successful two-year starter from a program that prepares their players very effectively for the next level. Probably the all-around bigger cornerback in this year’s class, with a rocked-up frame. Typically lines up as the left corner, from both press and off-coverage looks; was asked to play lots of different techniques and backpedal more than usual for a college corner. Has also played a hybrid linebacker/safety role in the past. Has quick, clean footwork to match releases at the line against press-man. Good attention to detail and transitions when backpedaling. Functional strength is very good.

Knows how to use his hands to disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage. Explosiveness out of his stance is very impressive. Uses his hands well to stay connected through routes. Defends smaller, quicker receivers in and out of breaks much better than usual for a big corner. Shows twitchy elements with good reaction times. Clean transitions from his backpedal to driving on a spot. Processes route combinations well from zone. Has ball-hawking traits; recognizes and aggressively undercuts short routes. Has been a playmaker with the ball in his hands as well, with three pick-sixes in 2022. Physical, reliable tackler. Sifts through congestion well in run support.

Negatives:

Would like to see him take more snaps from the right side of the defense to evaluate his footwork there. Very explosive mover, but doesn’t quite have elite flexibility and agility. Some float at the top of route stems from in-breaking patterns; would like to see him play a bit more aggressively and lean on his athleticism. Approach from off-coverage can be overly conservative, too, allowing some completions on throws where the receiver works back to the ball. Looks slightly susceptible to jab-steps outside with a pivot back to in-breaking routes.

Summary:

A big, strong corner who was asked to play different techniques and shows the type of polished technique and explosive athleticism to do a little bit of everything at the next level. Should be able to mix it up with bigger receivers or even flex tight ends, or stick with smaller, quicker receivers, and that versatility should have him in the running to be the first defensive back off the board on draft day and a likely first-round pick.

Projection: Round 1

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