What NFL Draft experts are saying about Cooper DeJean coming out of the NFL Combine

Cooper DeJean wasn't able to participate in drills at the combine, but he's still top of mind for cornerback needy teams and NFL Draft experts.
NFL Combine
NFL Combine / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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Cooper DeJean is one of the NFL Draft's most polarizing players, but all for good reason. His athleticism and on-field production speak for themselves as he's still projected to be one of the top defensive backs selected in the 2024 NFL Draft. Still, questions about the injury that held him out of drills at the NFL Combine and which position he'll play at the next level swirl around the Iowa prospect.

The former Hawkeye is a versatile player and helped the Black & Gold in many ways, but his primary position was, of course, cornerback. Should he be selected in the first round as expected, he'll be the first white cornerback to be drafted that high since 1969. While his skin tone has little to do with it, some draft experts project he'll be better suited as a slot corner or safety at the next level.

In the meantime, DeJean revealed in his Combine media interview that he did fracture his fibula late in the 2023 season and while he's now cleared to get back on the field, he wasn't able to participate at the NFL Combine athletically. With private workouts with teams ahead of the draft, DeJean will finally be able to showcase his athleticism to NFL franchises. But the rest of us will have to wait until training camp to see him in an NFL setting on the field.

The Athletic's Dan Brugler, who releases an NFL Draft prospects 'Freaks List' every year, admitted on X his disappointment in not seeing DeJean on the field in Lucas Oil Stadium, saying he's "one of the freakiest guys in the draft."an

Because DeJean wasn't able to work out, most experts are leaning on his film for their evaluations, so not much has changed for the prospect. Still, some analysts are sticking to their guns that DeJean should play safety, such as John Vogel.

Prior to the Combine, some analysts are still fairly split. ESPN's Matt Miller doesn't have a first-round grade on DeJean, but does have him as his No. 22 player on his Big Board. Meanwhile, Mel Kiper Jr. has him at No. 15 on his latest Big Board and going 19th to the Los Angeles Rams in his latest Mock Draft.

A few teams did come out of the Combine intrigued with DeJean and have scheduled him for visits. He has a top-30 visit with the Philadelphia Eagles while other teams to show interest include the 49ers, Seahawks, Saints and Packers according to a report from Chase Senior on X. DeJean also told the media at the NFL Combine he met with the Arizona Cardinals multiple times and had a formal meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers.