3 Best NFL team fits for Iowa DB Cooper DeJean

Cooper DeJean is certainly going to hear his name called relatively early in the 2024 NFL Draft, but his landing spot is a bigger question.
NFL Combine
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We know former Iowa Hawkeye cornerback Cooper DeJean will hear his name called in the back half of the first round or very early in the second. Of course, his landing spot is far from determined.

Since his Pro Day, DeJean has met with four NFL teams for Top 30 visits: Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles. While this indicates the teams with considerable interest in DeJean, it's not the full scope of teams he's likely to land with.

The Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars among others have all been linked to DeJean in one manner or another. The interest he has acquired is just another example of how valuable his versatility is.

Still, only one team can draft him and, even further, only a handful of the teams remotely interested in him are good fits.

DeJean's biggest asset is his versatility followed closely by his explosive athleticism. However, as a defensive back, his skills would see him perform best in a zone scheme. This wipes away certain teams, such as the Steelers, for him to play outside cornerback for, though it doesn't necessarily eliminate him.

Of course, he could fit with a team, but more pressing needs could see him passed up. For instance, DeJean would fit well in Seattle, but the Seahawks need more help in the trenches after investing in the defensive backfield over the past few seasons.

So where does DeJean really fit as a potential first round pick in the NFL?

No. 3: Green Bay Packers

The Packers ask their corners to play quite a bit of man coverage, however they desperately need help in the defensive backfield as a whole.

While Jaire Alexander is one of the best in the league, there's a strong possibility 2024 will be his last in the Frozen Tundra. Meanwhile, only half of the safety duo is solved with the free agent signing of Xavier McKinney who is versatile enough in his own right to help the defense deep or close to the line of scrimmage.

Still, DeJean wouldn't be perfect insurance for Alexander's potential departure as the Packers ask their corners to play quite a bit of man coverage because Alexander can follow the very best in the league and Eric Stokes in no slouch either.

Nonetheless, DeJean would be able to fit a hybrid safety-nickel role in Green Bay that could ex-ploit his athleticism and versatility.

The Packers pick at No. 25 overall, so the value lines up well.

No. 2: Indianapolis Colts

It would be a bit fun to see DeJean join fellow Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark in Indianapolis, but his fit goes far beyond his connections.

The Colts employ Gus Bradley as their defensive coordinator, a coach who operates a zone scheme that happens to allow defensive backs to flourish. Remember the Legion of Boom in Seattle? That was thanks in large part to Bradley.

Kenny Moore is the star of the secondary in Indianapolis as a nickel corner, but the Colts still need someone opposite of JuJu Brents on the outside or a free safety to pair with Julian Blackmon. DeJean likely fits better at cornerback in Indy, but Bradley is the type of coach to utilize DeJean to his full ability.

The Colts pick at No. 15, so they have first crack at DeJean before any of the teams included here.

No. 1: Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles need more scheme help than talent help on the defensive side of the ball, but that doesn't mean they aren't heavily interested in acquiring a talent like DeJean.

DeJean fits the profile of the prospects the Eagles have targeted in recent drafts: an athletic freak.

The Eagles do run a zone-heavy scheme where DeJean would fit in anywhere. Playing time is another story for the 2024 season as all five of the Eagles' defensive backs are proven commodities in the NFL.

That said, Darius Slay isn't getting any younger, and CJ Gardner-Johnson missed nearly the entire 2023 season with the Lions and is prone to controversy regardless. On top of this, the Eagles' secondary was prone to injuries themselves in 2023 as 16 defensive backs took snaps last year and only two players, James Bradberry and Reed Blankenship, played more than 75% of the season.

Still, the Eagles have stashed quality talent such as Jalen Carter, Nakobe Dean and Nolan Smith in recent drafts and rotated them as key depth before they earned significant playing time. DeJean fits the mold of how the Eagles have been building for several years now and would benefit from learning with a talented secondary.

Philadelphia owns the No. 22 pick, so they will likely have a clean shot at DeJean if the picks fall their way.

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