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Packers Take Iowa DB Cooper DeJean in Field Yates’ NFL Mock Draft

Iowa DB Cooper DeJean lined up here, there and everywhere in the secondary for the Hawkeyes. He had as many interceptions in 2022 and 2023 as the Packers had in 2023.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Entering the 2024 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers need help at cornerback. They need help at safety. And if Keisean Nixon isn’t re-signed in free agency, they’d need a slot corner and kick returner.

Enter Cooper DeJean, the team’s first-round pick in a new mock draft by’s Field Yates and a popular pick in all mock drafts.

DeJean had five interceptions during a breakout 2022 season and added two more in 2023. In 2022, according to Pro Football Focus, DeJean played 553 snaps at cornerback, 140 in the slot and 91 in the box. In 2023, the overwhelming majority of his snaps came at cornerback, where he allowed just 20-of-46 passing with zero touchdowns and a 37.8 passer rating.

In 2023, DeJean was a unanimous first-team All-American and won the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and the Rodgers-Dwight Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year.

DeJean is a playmaker. On defense the past two seasons, he had seven interceptions and 20 passes defensed. As a punt returner, he boasted a career average of 13.1 yards per return with one touchdown.

The Packers need playmakers. They ranked 31st with seven interceptions in 2023.

A native of South Dakota who played at OABCIG High School in Ida Grove, Iowa, DeJean as a senior threw for 3,447 yards, rushed for 1,235 yards and accounted for 59 total touchdowns. He also scored more than 1,800 career points in basketball and was an elite sprinter and long jumper.

“Good size, rocked-up guy,” Iowa recruiting director Tyler Barnes told The Athletic. “I think he had four or five dunks in that game, one of which he dunked over two guys. One was about 6-5. To see a quiet kid like that, once he jumped on the basketball court, his switch flipped. To see him operate the way he did, I was texting everybody on staff, ‘This kid is an absolute no-brainer.’”

No-brainer to Iowa, at least. His major offers were to play quarterback at South Dakota State or to play defense at Iowa.

“The most amazing part is he wasn’t recruited, especially in this day and age where there’s no secrets,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “On top of it, he’s a great young guy and just a great team member.

“Being a multi-sport athlete, it seems like anybody who’s smart I talk to in football, they endorse that, the people in the NFL. You can usually go back and trace that; like the good ball skill guys, they played stuff other than just football growing up. Sometimes they didn’t play football until later.”

DeJean would be a no-brainer to Green Bay if on the board at No. 25 overall. The Packers have questions at cornerback following the trade of Rasul Douglas and another injury-plagued season for Eric Stokes. They have questions at safety with Darnell Savage, Jonathan Owens and Rudy Ford headed to free agency. And they have a question at safety with Nixon set to hit free agency, as well.

Three offensive tackles and one cornerback were selected after DeJean in Yates’ mock.

Click here to see all the picks and Yates’ explanations.