Packers' Cooper DeJean dreams go up in smoke after tantalizing pro day

The Green Bay Packers aren't getting Cooper DeJean at pick No. 25.
Cooper DeJean
Cooper DeJean / Matthew Holst/GettyImages

If the Green Bay Packers were hoping they could steal Iowa Hawkeyes star defensive back Cooper DeJean in the later portion of the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, that's probably not happening anymore.

The Packers' dreams of landing DeJean at pick #25 overall in the first round were dashed, in all likelihood, after DeJean absolutely lit it up at his Pro Day.

DeJean was medically cleared to start working out just two weeks ago, which makes the numbers he posted at his Pro Day all the more exhilarating. And we know how much Packers GM Brian Gutekunst likes the Relative Athletic Score warriors. DeJean has an unofficial RAS of 9.89 out of 10 after his Pro Day.

The Packers took one of DeJean's old teammates -- Lukas Van Ness -- in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. I'm sure Gutekunst would love to be able to fill the biggest need his team currently has in the defensive backfield by getting a player who can not only float around the entire formation, but come in and help immediately on special teams as well.

DeJean played all over the place for the Iowa Hawkeyes in Phil Parker's defense, including safety, nickel, and outside corner. The Packers currently have Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes, and they also brought back Keisean Nixon in the slot. DeJean could project immediately as a starter over Stokes on the outside, or if the Packers want to give Stokes another year, DeJean could slot right next to Xavier McKinney at the safety position.

Packers likely need to trade up to have any hope of drafting Cooper DeJean

The problem is, there's almost no chance of DeJean falling to the Packers after that kind of workout. There are a bunch of defensive back-needy teams ahead of the Packers in the 2024 NFL Draft order, including the Indianapolis Colts, who might be the only team in the NFL that loves the RAS warriors like Brian Gutekunst. The Colts pick 15th overall in the first round.

If the Packers want any shot at DeJean, they would have to trade up to get him. Luckily for them, they have 11 picks and could very easily pull that off. But how far up is Gutekunst willing to go to get a defensive back? Would he have to get up into the top 14 picks? As good as DeJean is, that might be too rich for just about any non-quarterback.

The Packers' best hope at this point will be to sit back and hope a run on cornerbacks doesn't start until the teens. If corners start flying off the board by the eighth overall pick, then DeJean will be as good as gone.

One reason it might not be a terrible idea to move up for DeJean if possible is the new kickoff rules in the NFL. DeJean is a wizard when it comes to returning kicks and punts, and he stands to help teams benefit greatly from the new rule change. Even though the Packers already have an All-Pro return man, it would be at least a little bit surprising if he didn't return kicks as a rookie.

And you can bet that after this workout, teams are all thinking the same thing.

On top of his outstanding workout, video footage of DeJean playing basketball in high school started going viral as well. This guy is as good as it gets athletically.

If the Packers want him, they're going to have to go up and get him. He's not falling to pick #25 now that teams know he's fully recovered from the injury that ended his season at Iowa. He's officially checked all the boxes.

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