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Meet the Prospect: Cooper DeJean

Name: Cooper DeJean

Position: Cornerback

School: Iowa

Ht/Wt: 6-0, 203

40-yard dash: Did not run

Bench: Did not bench

Vertical: Did not jump

Broad: Did not jump

3-cone: Did not run

20-yard shuttle: Did not run

View photos of NFL prospect Cooper DeJean.

How he fits: One thing head coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn really value in players on the defensive side of the football is versatility. Cornerbacks who can play both the slot, outside and move back to safety. Linebackers who can play both on and off the ball. Defensive linemen who can play the edge but also shift inside in certain packages and be productive there.

DeJean might be the most versatile defensive player in this entire draft. The reigning Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and Return Specialist of the Year should be able to play both cornerback spots and safety at the next level. He was named a finalist for college football's top defensive player last year despite missing the end of the season with a broken fibula suffered mid-November in practice. In 2022, DeJean had five interceptions and returned three for touchdowns. He's got receiver-caliber ball skills as a defender and averaged 13.1 yards per punt return over his last two seasons at Iowa combined.

DeJean would likely be a core special teamer from Day 1 in Detroit and a player with position versatility to allow Glenn to create some unique packages with his diverse skillset.

Key observations: Opponents completed 43 percent of their passes with a 37.8 passer rating for just 194 yards and no touchdowns when throwing at DeJean in 10 games last season. He recorded seven interceptions combined the last two seasons and returned three of those for touchdowns.

What they had to say about him: "Despite his season-ending injury, DeJean was recognized as the Big Ten's Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year and the Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year. With his natural anticipation in coverage, DeJean is rarely out of position and uses his athletic gifts and top-tier ball skills to make plays (allowed only one catch of 15-plus yards last season).

"He has a steady process to gather and go, but his lack of initial suddenness is something he must continue to mask to limit separation at the top of routes." - Dane Brugler, The Athletic

View photos of the top cornerback prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.

How he stacks up: Brugler lists DeJean as his No. 23 prospect in his latest ranking of the Top 100 players available in this class.

NFL media analyst Daniel Jeremiah lists DeJean as the No. 28 prospect in his list of the Top 50 players in this draft.

"I believe DeJean could stick at cornerback, but I wouldn't rule out a move to safety, where his strengths as a player would be featured," Jeremiah wrote. "He reminds me of a bigger Eric Weddle coming out of college."

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. lists DeJean as No. 21 on his latest Big Board of the Top 25 prospects in the class. Matt Miller of ESPN lists DeJean as his No. 26 prospect. Fellow ESPN analysts Jordan Reid and Field Yates rank DeJean 21st and 23rd, respectively. analyst Bucky Brooks has DeJean as his No. 1 nickel cornerback available in this draft.

What he had to say: "I've talked to a few teams, yeah, about just moving around. Being able to play multiple, different positions, I think that's an advantage. Coming into this league, being able to play wherever they put me," DeJean said at the Combine. "It doesn't matter to me, to be honest. I'll play anywhere. I just want to play ball.

"I feel like I'm a physical guy. I can run. I have good feel for the game, for sure. I feel like I can help out in the run game as well as a corner."

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