Cooper DeJean should be a draft prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft for any NFL team that needs help with their secondary. Cooper has a perfect chance to be the first Iowa Hawkeye to be drafted in the top 10 since T.J. Hockenson in 2019 to the Detroit Lions at pick number nine overall and the first Iowa Hawkeye defensive back to be drafted inside the top 10 since Tom Knight in 1997 to the Arizona Cardinals at pick number nine overall.
Cooper DeJean is a true Junior at the University of Iowa.
In his three-year career that he has had at Iowa, he has totaled 117 total tackles, with 86 of them being solo tackles. As a true freshman in 2021, he mainly played on special teams, recording just four tackles on the season. When given the chance to start in 2022 as a true sophomore, he recorded 75 total tackles with five interceptions. In 2022, he also became the punt returner for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Since becoming the punt returner, he has averaged only 13 yards a return, which is not bad since Devin Hester averaged 11 yards a return in his entire NFL career. Cooper DeJean has the speed and pop to be able to return it to the house for a touchdown. He has done that once in his career so far, and that was this year against Michigan State. He should have a second punt return for a touchdown, but he was brutally robbed of it when the refs said he “waived for an invalid fair catch.”
There are plenty of fits for Cooper DeJean in the NFL Draft.
The first team that could be drafting Cooper DeJean is the Green Bay Packers. With their recent trade of Rasual Douglas and all of the injury history they currently have with the defensive backfield, Cooper DeJean would most likely be a starter from day 1. The Green Bay Packers also love the University of Iowa, which is leading the league by drafting 23 former Hawkeyes.
If the Packers decide to go a different direction and draft an offensive weapon or an offensive lineman, Cooper DeJean could end up with the Los Angeles Chargers (297.4), Washington Commanders (256.8), Chicago Bears (262.3), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (256.0), Denver Broncos (251.8) or the Indianapolis Colts (247.5). Those six teams all currently have picks inside the top 15 picks and are in the bottom 10 in the NFL with passing yards allowed.
Cooper DeJean should be the first defensive back drafted in the 2024 draft. While Koo-Aid McKinstry does give up fewer passing yards per game than DeJean by an average of 7 yards a game, DeJean leads McKinstry in passer rating and interceptions. DeJean is also a better punt returner than McKinstry, averaging three more yards per return. Both defensive backs will make an instant impression with their NFL teams. It will not be like taking Emmanuel Forbes over Christian Gonzalez. But Cooper DeJean should edge out Kool-Aid McKinstry and be the first one off the board.
If Cooper decides to enter the draft this year, there is no doubt that he will have plenty of suitors in this year’s draft. With his passer rating of 45.9 over his two years starting in Iowa, his average of just under 30 yards of receiving allowed in a game, and the two touchdowns he has allowed in his career at Iowa goes to show he is easily one of the best things to come from the University of Iowa.