The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa’s Cooper DeJean drafted by Philadelphia Eagles

DeJean was selected as the No. 40 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on Friday. 
Emily Nyberg
Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean runs the ball during the Iowa homecoming football game between Iowa and Purdue at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Boilermakers 20-14. DeJean totaled 45 yards and three returns against Purdue.

Former Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles with the No. 40 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on Friday. 

The 6-foot-1, 203-pound star was widely regarded as a surefire first-round pick and top-five prospect at his respective position but did not hear his name called in the first 32 picks on Thursday.

Hailing from Odebolt, Iowa, DeJean was a standout athlete in high school competing in football, basketball, track and field, and baseball. He was a Class 2A state champion in the long jump and 100-meter dash and finished second in the 200-meter dash. Meanwhile, his basketball highlights have gone viral on social media with a display of high hops and emphatic dunks.

But DeJean stood out most on the football field. He led OABCIG High School to a 38-6 record throughout his four-year tenure. Through his last two years, DeJean completed 435-of-727 pass attempts for 6,993 yards, 77 touchdowns, and 25 interceptions. He also rushed for 2,527 yards and 48 touchdowns on 265 attempts and recorded 87.5 tackles and eight interceptions on the defensive end to lead his team to a 25-0 record and back-to-back state titles. 

Despite being a three-time All-State honoree and 2020-21 Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year, the three-star prospect was ranked outside the top-300 in the 2021 class by ESPN. He chose to play cornerback at Iowa over Illinois State, South Dakota State, North Dakota State, and Iowa State. 

DeJean’s first season with the Hawkeyes saw him earn the Next Man In Award after recording four tackles – three solo and one assisted – and a 20-yard kickoff return in seven games played.

His second season is where the star cornerback emerged onto the national scene. Playing all 13 games, DeJean racked up 75 tackles – 56 solo and 19 assisted – as well as eight pass breakups and five interceptions for 91 yards and three touchdowns. His five interceptions ranked second in the Big Ten and 11th in all of college football, and his three pick-six touchdowns were the most in a season by one player in program history. 

His stellar 2022 season led to earning the Reggie Roby Special Teams Award, Team Hustle Award, Music City Bowl Most Valuable Player, first-team All-Big Ten honors by league media, and second-team All-Big Ten honors by league coaches. 

DeJean was having a career-best 2023 season before suffering a season-ending lower leg injury at practice. Through 10 games, the star cornerback accumulated 41 tackles – 26 solo and 15 assisted – five pass break-ups, two interceptions for 41 yards, and returned 21 punts for 241 yards and one touchdown. His one punt return touchdown was the tie-breaker with four minutes remaining to notch the win against Michigan State. 

Though his season was cut short, he still earned an abundance of awards: unanimous consensus All-American; first-team All-America by AFCA, FWAA, The Athletic, CBS, Phil Steele, Sports Illustrated, Walter Camp, Associated Press, and Sporting News; Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Jim Thorpe Award finalist; Phil Steele first-team All-Big Ten as a defensive back and punt returner; Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year; Rodgers-Dwight Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year; and first-team All-Big Ten as a defensive back and return specialist by league coaches and media.

DeJean made a full recovery from his lower leg injury and proved it at his individual pro day on April 8. The star cornerback’s pro day results put him right outside the top one percent of all cornerbacks in athleticism testing since 1987, according to The 33rd Team. 

There’s been a wide discussion as to whether he will play cornerback or switch to safety.

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About the Contributors
Chris Meglio
Chris Meglio, Sports Reporter
Chris Meglio is a first year student at the University of Iowa studying a double major in sport studies and journalism. He will be working as a sports journalist for The Daily Iowan covering women's volleyball for the fall sports season.
Emily Nyberg
Emily Nyberg, Visual Editor
Emily Nyberg is a second-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic arts. Prior to her role as a Visual Editor, Emily was a Photojournalist, and a News Reporter covering higher education.