by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Iowa, Cornerback, Cooper DeJean
Name- Cooper DeJean
HT/WT- 6’1” 207 lbs.
Home – Sioux Falls, SD
DeJean was a four-year football letterman as a quarterback and defensive back at OABCIG high school in Ida Grove, Iowa. He holds school records for pass completions and passing yards in a season, career passing yards and career passing touchdowns. He also lettered three years in baseball, basketball, and track. In his senior season, he was named to the Des Moines Register Elite All-State team and committed to Iowa at the beginning of the season.
In 2021 as a freshman, DeJean saw action in 7 games, mostly on special teams and was named the Next Man In Award for his play.
DeJean started 2022 listed as a second-team “Cash” linebacker and strong safety. He started at cornerback for 10 games and outside linebacker for 3. He had a strong season, totaling 56 tackles and 5 interceptions and returned 3 of the interceptions for touchdowns. He averaged 16.5 yards per punt return for the Hawkeyes and his outstanding season led him to be named first-team All-Big 10.
DeJean was named a Draft 412 pre-season first team All-American heading into the 2023 season.
Cooper DeJean’s resume is full of versatility. He has played outside linebacker, safety and cornerback, and has been an excellent punt returner. He has an electric energy and toughness that makes him stand out on film. He shows good instincts with reading coverages and the quarterback’s eyes. He plays the game with a chip on his shoulder and plays each play like it is his last. He is aggressive against the run and is not afraid to fight through larger athletes to make a play on a runner.
DeJean plays with good balance and body control and once the ball is in his hands, he becomes an offensive weapon. He is able to cover bigger and faster athletes and tracks the ball well in the air.
On the downside, DeJean can be overaggressive and takes poor angles at times while trying to get to the ball. Though he has above average strength for his position, he needs to add some muscle and physicality to play well at the next level. He should work on his footwork and positional techniques, which finds him playing too upright. His emotion and high level of competitiveness, while desirable for any defense, often gets the best of him, and he will overreact to pump fakes and/or play action.
Cooper DeJean is an interesting prospect who can add so much value to a roster with his versatility. A big season in 2023 can catapult him to an early 2nd day pick.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - Round 3