Packers Predicted to Land ‘No. 1 Cornerback’ with ‘Twitch and Explosiveness’


Getty Images The Packers could add a young and versatile defender early in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The Green Packers have built a young and exciting offense around emerging quarterback Jordan Love and now might aim to replicate that playbook on defense.

General manager Brian Gutekunst and the Packers took a big step towards making that a reality by signing top safety Xavier McKinney during free agency. Guteknunst could be primed to add another building block into new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley’s secondary.

In ESPN’s latest mock draft projection, featuring selections projected by Mel Kiper Jr., and Field Yates, Kiper projects the Packers will select Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean with the No. 25 overall selection.

“Edge rusher, offensive tackle or cornerback,” Kiper lists, as the Packers’ potential top positions to target. “I like the value with DeJean, who is No. 21 overall on my Big Board. Some teams see him as a safety, but I think he can be a No. 1 corner.”

Finally healthy, after suffering a broken leg last season, DeJean could be a perfect melding between value and need for the Packers with a top-25 selection.

During 30 career games in Iowa City, DeJean produced 120 total tackles with five tackles for loss, seven interceptions, returning three for touchdowns, and adding 13 pass breakups.

“He’s quiet and humble,” an AFC Scout tells “He was always the best at his high school and he has a baked-in confidence that you can’t coach.”

Cooper DeJean Scouting Report

DeJean’s positional versatility could make him a prototypical fit for Hafley’s scheme.

As a rookie, DeJean could start immediately on the outside, opposite veteran Jaire Alexander, or move into the slot in matchup dependant situations.

At 6-foot-1 and 2017 pounds, DeJean has the potential to be a playmaker on defense while adding value as a return specialist thanks to his experience on special teams during his career in Iowa.

“DeJean is one of the better overall athletes in the 2024 NFL draft,” Greg Cossell writes for The 33rd Team. “But he might not have all the requisite traits for the corner position at the next level. He has outstanding size, length, some twitch, and explosive suddenness to his movement, although it was more straight-line linear than loose-hipped and fluid.

“DeJean was at his best playing off coverage zone at a high level. He had excellent vision reading through the receiver to the quarterback and showed the plant, drive, quickness, and burst to play routes in front of him. DeJean showed an excellent feel for route concepts and combinations in zone coverage, playing with outstanding eye focus and discipline. He reacted decisively to multi-receiver route combinations.”

As Pro Football Focus points out, DeJean has the potential to be a lockdown cornerback at the next level, as illustrated by opposing quarterbacks producing a meager 37.8 passer rating when targeting him during the 2023 season, one year removed from holding quarterbacks to a passer rating of just 49.7.

Packers Open 2024 Season as Underdogs

The Packers, and the Philadelphia Eagles, will make history when the two heritage franchises and likely Super Bowl contenders open the 2024 NFL season in Brazil.

However, despite the burgeoning optimism around Love and the Packers’ run to the doorstep of the NFC Championship Game last season, Green Bay has opened as a slight underdog for the Week 1 matchup.

Philadelphia opens as a 1.5-point favorite over the Packers, at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Fans in Brazil, and around the world, will be treated to a matchup that features two of the NFL’s brightest young quarterbacks; Love and Jalen Hurts along with two of the more prolific running backs in recent seasons, Josh Jacobs and Saquon Barkley.

Jacobs arrives in Green Bay two years removed from winning the NFL rushing crown while Barkley defects from the NFC East rival New York Giants to the Eagles after a 962-yard and six-touchdown 2023 season.

The Packers and Eagles kickoff on Friday, September 6 in São Paulo, Brazil.

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