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Cowboys draft 2024: CB Cooper DeJean scouting report

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By: Mike Poland

Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Here is our scouting report on cornerback Cooper DeJean from Iowa

We continue our 2024 NFL Draft review of draft prospects that could interest the Dallas Cowboys. Today we are looking at cornerback Cooper DeJean from Iowa.

Cooper DeJean
CB
Iowa Hawkeyes
Junior
4-star recruit
Height- 6’1”
Weight- 207 lbs

History:
Cooper DeJean opted to play for Iowa after receiving a four-star recruit rating from 247 Sports. He was a big track athlete in high school and those athletic traits served him well in college helping him improve with each season.

In his freshman year, DeJean played a total of 70 snaps, but only six of those were on defense. On the six snaps where he played wide corner, he made a total of four tackles.

In 2022, Cooper received a huge increase in snaps, playing a total of 914 snaps for Iowa, with 746 of those snaps on defense. DeJean played in all 13 games as a starting cornerback and was productive from Week 1. He made 75 total tackles, three tackles for loss and made 25 defensive stops (fifth-most among starting cornerbacks). In pass coverage he registered eight pass deflections, five interceptions (second-most in the nation) and scored three pick-six’s (most in the nation). He allowed a completion rate of only 51% and an elite passer rating allowed of 49.7.

In 2023, DeJean took things to the next level. He played in ten games for Iowa, missing time due to a leg injury. He still played 705 snaps on defense, 388 of those snaps on passing downs. He made 41 total tackles and two tackles for loss. On passing plays DeJean was even more shutdown than his sophomore year allowing a completion rate of only 43% and a passer rating allowed of 37.8 (seventh-lowest among starting cornerbacks). He added five more pass breakups and two more interceptions to his resume and scored one touchdown off a punt return, finishing the season second in the Big Ten in punt return yards. He was named Big Ten’s defensive back and return specialist of the year, as well as being named All-American.

2023 Statistics:
705 Total snaps
388 Coverage snaps
41 Total Tackles
2 TFL
2 INT
5 PBU
37.8 Rating Allowed

NFL Combine/Pro Day:
TBD

Awards:
All-American
All-Big 10 first team (2023)
Big 10 Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year (2023)
Big 10 Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year (2023)
All-Big 10 Football second team (2022)

Scorecard:
Overall- 91.5/100
Tackling- 80/100
Run Defense- 85/100
Zone- 85/100
Press- 84/100
Playmaking- 97/100
Speed- 94/100
Strength-80/100
Acceleration- 96/100
Agility- 78/100


THE GOOD:

  • Has incredibly quick feet which you see most when he’s back peddling.
  • Elite acceleration which he uses to break on the ball. His seven interceptions in the last two years is testament to his incredible burst.
  • Has high levels of athleticism to recover. Both his speed and quickness is seen most in this regard.
  • Has great top speed.
  • Has fantastic versatility to align as an outside corner or from the slot. His size and length along with his agility helps him defend the “big slot” players with extremely efficiently.
  • Not afraid to come down and help defend the run.
  • Takes exceptionally good angles to get to the ball carrier.
  • Shows great ball tracking ability while remaining in the receivers hip pocket.
  • Rarely misses a tackle.
  • Has extensive experience playing as a punt returner.

THE BAD:

  • Can have trouble defending shifty receivers who have high degrees of agility.
  • Can look unsettled playing press and running with his back to the quarterback.
  • Hips get sluggish when trying to stay in-phase with receivers on out routes.
  • Being top heavy for a cornerback can leave him a tick behind when trying to get back around to the receiver on short routes
  • Can sometimes be overly aggressive on run defense leaving his area of the field exposed.
  • Leg injury in 2023 requires investigation.

THE FIT:
One thing to look for in any prospect at any position coming into the draft is a steady progression of skills and production. Cooper DeJean had that progression but it wasn’t steady, they were huge jumps from year-to-year. He makes for an extremely intriguing cornerback prospect due to the fact he’s so versatile as to where he can line up. But he’s also versatile in terms of his ability to defend both the run and pass. His upper body strength has helped him in tackling and defending running backs for Iowa.

His size does mean the trade off for DeJean is a lower rate in change of direction skills. This can lead to tight hips and slower transitions to stay with his assignment.

But he has high levels of athleticism in terms of speed and acceleration. It’s rare to find a cornerback that is so scheme versatile and be able to defend the run, while showing great instincts and able to cover so efficiently from either out wide or the slot. Cooper DeJean should go in the first round, if not early on Day 2. He’s more than likely to be the third or fourth cornerback taken in this year’s draft.

COMPARISON:-
Jamel Dean, Tampa Bay

GRADE:
Late first round/early second round

CONSENSUS RANKING:
20th
(Consensus ranking based on the average ranking from 90 major scoring services)

Originally posted on Blogging The Boys