Cooper DeJean Scouting Report
By Charlie Campbell
- Extremely well-rounded
- Great hands
- Risky to throw against him
- Dangerous play-maker
- Ball skills
- Interception threat
- Covers a ton of ground
- Size to jam
- Size to line up on big wide outs
- Fast enough to run with speed receivers
- Good vision, eye discipline
- Can play nickel corner
- Can play man coverage on slot receivers
- Can play man coverage on receiving tight ends
- Asset to defend big receivers downfield
- Solid run defender
- Good tackler in the open field
- Will get physical as a tackler
- Can play near the line of scrimmage
- Capable of being the eighth man in the box
- Can drive and fill in the box
- Stays around the ball
- Fluid; can flip his hips and run
- Could be a good special teams player
- Should be able to play quickly
- Has been a starter at corner
- A bit of a tweener safety/corner
- Lacks twitch as an outside corner
Riley Moss made some recent history as the first white cornerback to break into the NFL since Jason Seahorn played the position about 20 years ago. The Iowa Hawkeyes look poised to make it two years in a row for a white cornerback, as Cooper DeJean should be a sought-after prospect after a huge 2022 campaign. DeJean was a monster that season, racking up 75 tackles, five interceptions, 13 passes broken up and three touchdowns. In 2023, totaled 41 tackles, two interceptions and five passes broken up before a lower leg injury in practice ended his year in mid-November. Opponents avoided DeJean and targeted Iowa’s other defensive backs.
The first thing that jumps about DeJean is his instinctiveness. He seems to be playing a step ahead of the offense, as he has lightning-quick diagnosis skills that he uses to get himself in position to make plays. Aided by his excellent feel, anticipation, and route-recognition, DeJean is able to run with receivers and prevent separation. DeJean tracks the ball well and does a fantastic job of playing the ball in the air. Throwing at DeJean is dangerous, because he is a real threat to pick the pass off or tip it away from the target. DeJean could be a nice weapon for covering slot wide receivers and tight ends in the NFL.
In the ground game, DeJean is a gritty defender who is a willing tackler. He flows to the ball and won’t hesitate to come downhill on a back. With his tackling and run defense, DeJean definitely could fit as a safety in the NFL.
Here is how an AFC director of player personnel summed up DeJean to WalterFootball.com:
“He’s super instinctive, is all over the field, and makes a ton of plays on the ball. He’s an impressive player … “They say that he is a workout warrior also and will run in the 4.3s. From watching his tape over the summer, to me, he looked like he lacked a little juice to be an outside corner in the NFL. I think he would be best as a slot corner and safety. In a system like the Bills, he could play outside, but for most teams, I think he would be at his best as a safety that can move to nickel in sub.”
DeJean has versatile size that would allow him to play safety or cornerback in the NFL. However, this analyst agrees that DeJean’s best fit would not be playing outside corner. He would do the most damage as a safety and slot corner who can cause havoc in the middle of the field. DeJean looks like a future starter in the NFL with playmaking potential. He is worthy of being a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
C.J. Gardner-Johnson. DeJean could be a dangerous hybrid slot corner and safety in, similar to Gardner-Johnson.