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2024 NFL Draft

Ex-NFL Scout Thinks Cooper DeJean Would Be a Perfect Round 1 Pick for Steelers



Steelers Iowa CB Cooper DeJean

Iowa cornerback and potential Pittsburgh Steelers target Cooper DeJean put together some impressive numbers at his personal pro day. And shortly after that, he came to Pittsburgh for a pre-draft visit, indicating the Steelers interest in the talented cornerback. In fact, if his numbers from the unofficial testing numbers hold, DeJean would have the best Relative Athletic Score from any cornerback in the entire class.

DeJean projects as someone who can play outside, in the slot, or at safety. So, this is a versatile chess piece that could have huge benefits for a team like the Steelers.

And in NFL Network’s latest mock draft, DeJean lands with the Steelers.

“I forced Brock Bowers into the top 10 above. Now I’m bringing similar conviction to this projection for DeJean, as I’m bullish on the versatile defensive back ultimately being a top-20 pick. Absent through most of the pre-draft process due to a broken leg suffered in November, DeJean just put on an athletic show for scouts at his private workout. The playmaking extraordinaire — and prolific return man — is made for today’s NFL, with defenses valuing coverage versatility and ball skills at a premium,” they wrote.

Former NFL scout and current writer for Matt Williamson thinks DeJean would be a perfect first-round pick for Pittsburgh, as he would fill many holes in the secondary.

“The one to really stress here is Cooper Dejean,” Williamson told Tim Benz on the Breakfast with Benz podcast. “He is a little straight-line-ish. Many think he’s a safety. I think he’s a slot, a ‘star’ back, which is a box type of guy, highly capable of being an outside corner, and might be a superstar safety. I think you would get DeJean in the first round, you might just be done with your defensive backfield, and that’s a nice little approach. If one pick could fill all of those gaps, I think that’s really attractive.”

DeJean had seven interceptions in his college career, returning three for touchdowns, and also returned punts for the Hawkeyes. DeJean suffered a leg injury that ended his season late in the 2023 season. But now that he is recovered, DeJean’s testing numbers on just 12 days of training are impressive.

DeJean projects as someone who will go in the back end of the first round, and the Steelers feel like one of the teams that could bite, mainly due to his schematic fit.