Eagles’ Rookie Draws Comparison to Three-Time All-Pro Super Bowl Champion

The Philadelphia Eagles were determined to emerge from the 2024 NFL Draft with Cooper DeJean in tow, and, after selecting Quinyon Mitchell in the first round, traded up in the second round to secure the Iowa cornerback viewed by many inside the league as the premier prospect at the position.

DeJean’s blend of position fluidity, with experience playing on the perimeter, in the slot, or even at safety, combined with his ability to contribute as a returner on special teams made him one of the more coveted prospects in a loaded cornerback class.

After the Eagles bolted up the board to No. 40 overall to choose DeJean, the selection is drawing rave reviews.

Nate Tice of Yahoo Sports even compares DeJean to Super Bowl champion and three-time All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

“DeJean is one of the toughest players to find a comp for,” Tice writes. “Ramsey was more of a can’t-miss prospect but his versatility and ability to play safety were selling points that landed him in the top five back in 2016. DeJean is just a tick below in both size and athleticism. Ramsey was 6-foot-1, 209 pounds coming out of Florida State.

“DeJean measured 6-feet (and half-an-inch), 203 pounds. Ramsey ran a 4.41 to DeJean’s 4.44. Where the comp loses a little steam is Ramsey’s length. He uses his nearly 33.5-inch arms to control opposing receivers. DeJean’s arms are two inches shorter, but both are physical in nature and have a penchant for forcing turnovers.”

My line about Cooper DeJean is that he’s the player that has the skillset, size and athleticism that’s the most like Jalen Ramsey since Ramsey was a prospect.

I truly think he can a plus-player at outside CB, slot or Safety. Just like Ramsey. https://t.co/p5rLf8TRpA

— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) December 21, 2023

The Eagles will certainly sign up for DeJean’s ability to create turnovers, after producing just 18 turnovers in 2023, representing the seventh-fewest in the league.

Cooper DeJean Prepared to Be Eagles’ Cameleon

DeJean’s off-the-charts athleticism and production made him one of the more coveted cornerbacks in this year’s class.

“Cooper DeJean is the most instinctive athlete in this draft,” an AFC personnel director recently told Heavy. “You never see him in a bad position, can play cornerback, can play safety, you can put him at nickel, and, on top of everything else he’s your punt returner.”

DeJean intercepted two passes, and broke up five more while posting 41 total tackles and two tackles for loss in 10 games last season.

Pro Football Focus points out that across three seasons in Iowa City, DeJean lined up on the outside on 1,192 snaps, in the slot on 163 snaps, in the box on 116 snaps, and played one snap as a deep safety.

After hearing his name called in the second round, DeJean says he’s ready to play wherever the Eagles and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio line him up.

“I came in [to Iowa] as a safety. Played safety in high school all four years,” DeJean told reporters over the weekend. “At Iowa I got a lot of safety reps in practice, just coming in and playing that position. Did it all through my first camp, first spring ball. Then I continued to get reps at all three positions throughout my time there.”

Whether in 2024, or shortly thereafter, there’s a legitimate possibility that DeJean and Mitchell wind up making up the Eagles’ starting cornerback duo for seasons to come, especially following James Bradberry, Darius Slay, and the secondary’s collapse down the stretch in 2023.

Eagles Sign Versatile Defensive Back

Philadelphia Eagles UDFA signee S Andre’ Sam #LSU Pro Day Highlights.

Measured 5-11, 1/2 at 193 lbs. with a 4.53 40-yd dash.

Sam highly productive with 85 tkls last year (3rd on team) with a team-high 3 interceptions.

Very experienced and hungry player! pic.twitter.com/yDehILH0z2

— John Eads WAFB-TV (@JohnEadsWAFB) April 29, 2024

Even after selecting DeJean and Mitchell in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, general manager Howie Roseman and the Eagles weren’t done adding depth to the secondary.

After the draft concluded, the Eagles signed former LSU safety Andre’ Sam as an undrafted free agent.

“He plays with a smooth pedal and solid response time to the quarterback’s eyes,” NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein writes of Sam. “And operation from his safety perch. He is more consistent lining up over the slot or playing from split safety alignments, where his attention is much more focused than when he’s digesting the field from single-high.

“He improved as a tackler as the season wore on, but angles of pursuit might still be an issue. Sam has late-round potential.”

Sam intercepted a team-high three passes at LSU last season, while adding 85 total tackles, one tackle for loss and three pass breakups, before running the 40-yard dash in 4.59 seconds, posing a 36-inch vertical leap, and 10-foot-3-inch broad jump during the NFL Combine.

This summer, Sam will likely find himself competing for a roster spot against Sydney Brown and Tristin McCollum.

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