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Former GM has Colts selecting do-it-all defender in mock draft

The Indianapolis Colts have a few directions that they can go when on the clock in Round 1, including adding another playmaker to the passing game, a pass rush presence, or help in the secondary.

Former Miami and Minnesota GM Rick Spielman, and now analyst for CBS, believes that the Colts should go with the latter, selecting the do-it-all defensive back from Iowa Cooper DeJean.

“So I got an opportunity to get a guy that’s a very good football player,” said Spielman, “that can be physical in run support, that can play nickel, he can play outside, I think he can play safety if he had to. He’s just too good of a football player to pass up. ALSO, I think he’s going to be a legit punt returner.”

As Spielman notes, DeJean can do a little bit of everything. He spent most of his snaps at Iowa lined up on the boundary but can also play safety as well as line up in the slot.

Over the last two seasons in coverage, DeJean has allowed a completion rate of just 47 percent and 10.4 yards per catch with seven interceptions and nine pass breakups.

DeJean has also proven to be a very reliable tackler, making 111 of his 117 attempts during that span, which has led to him being a capable run defender.

Along with what DeJean brings to the defensive side of the ball, he has also played 439 career special teams snaps, including 31 punt return attempts where he averaged a whopping 13.1 yards per return.

DeJean measures in at 6-1, 207 pounds and will hold a workout on April 8th. His 2023 season was cut short due to a fibula injury that has prevented him from doing any athletic testing or on-field drills up to this point.

Two of the Colts’ three biggest positional needs that they still have lie in the secondary at cornerback and safety—both of which are roles DeJean can fill.

While recently GM Chris Ballard said he liked the Colts’ young cornerback room made up of JuJu Brents, Dallis Flowers, and Jaylon Jones, he also acknowledged that he isn’t done adding to that position group either, as he looks to add more competition and a potential upgrade.

“We know we need to add,” said Ballard about the secondary via the Colts team site, “and there’s still some vets out there that we will definitely pay attention to,” Ballard said. “But there’s still work to be done.”

At safety, the Colts will presumably have Nick Cross and Rodney Thomas competing for the free safety role, but the strong safety spot is up for grabs, not to mention that, like at cornerback, overall upgrades to that position group could be made as well. The Colts’ safeties have to be better this season at limiting explosive plays.

Other cornerbacks who could potentially be on the board when the Colts are picking at 15 include Nate Wiggins, Quinyon Mitchell, and Terrion Arnold. There aren’t any safeties that will be on the Colts’ radar this early in the draft.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire