Did Iowa’s Cooper DeJean get drafted in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft?

The first round of the 2024 NFL draft has come and gone.

Looking at mock drafts over the past calendar year, it felt like a foregone conclusion that Iowa star defensive back and return specialist Cooper DeJean would be a first-round NFL draft selection. A number of draft analysts had DeJean as a first-round selection in their final mock drafts.

Alas, DeJean didn’t hear his name called on the first night of the 2024 NFL draft.

From the midway point of the first round on, DeJean was the top name on Mel Kiper Jr.’s best available. ESPN’s longtime draft expert had DeJean No. 14 overall in his Big Board rankings.

As the draft picks continued to roll in, it unfortunately became apparent that DeJean might not hear his name called on day one after all. In all, just three defensive backs were selected in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft.

Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell was drafted No. 22 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles, Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold was chosen No. 24 overall by the Detroit Lions and Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins came off the board with pick No. 30 to the Baltimore Ravens.

If DeJean had been selected in the first round, he would have been the 14th first round pick for the Hawkeyes under Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz.

Instead, DeJean has to wait just a bit longer.

Eventually, DeJean is going to make some NFL franchise very, very happy. In turn, the Odebolt, Iowa, native might also make some NFL GMs look back and scratch their heads wondering why they didn’t select him in the first round.

DeJean was a unanimous consensus All-American, was named the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and Rodgers-Dwight Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year and was a Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Jim Thorpe Award finalist.

The 6-foot, 203 pound defensive back registered 120 tackles, 20 pass breakups, seven interceptions and five tackles for loss over the course of his 30 career games played and 23 starts while at Iowa. DeJean returned three of his interceptions for touchdowns during the 2022 season and had a 70-yard punt return touchdown in the Hawkeyes’ 26-16 win over Michigan State.

DeJean suffered a fractured right fibula during practice in November that sidelined him from Iowa’s final four games of the 2023 season. It also kept DeJean from taking part in the NFL Combine, though he’s fully healthy now and put together strong numbers at a special Pro Day in front of NFL scouts.

DeJean registered a 4.42 40-yard dash, a 38.5 inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-4 broad jump.

While he didn’t go in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft, the former Iowa defensive star figures to come off the board early in the second round.

The first five teams to pick in the second round of the NFL draft are the Buffalo Bills at No. 33, the New England Patriots at No. 34, the Arizona Cardinals at No. 35, the Washington Commanders at No. 36 and the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 37.

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire