Cooper DeJean comparison by former coach should have Bills fans drooling

Michigan State v Iowa
Michigan State v Iowa / Matthew Holst/GettyImages

Cooper DeJean is likely to hear his name called on Thursday night during the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. There should be a number of teams interested, including the Buffalo Bills who brought him in for one of their Top 30 visits.

DeJean was impressive the last two seasons for the Iowa Hawkeyes as he had 116 total tackles, seven interceptions, and 13 passes defended. He also had 31 punt returns during that stretch with an average of 13.1 yards per return and in total had four touchdowns after returning three interceptions and one punt for a touchdown.

One of the biggest concerns with Cooper DeJean is that he was a Swiss Army type player for the Hawkeyes' defense as he moved around from outside corner to nickel to safety. This can create challenges for some defenses in determining where he fits best in the NFL as he struggles in man and may not have the fluidity to stay with quicker wide receivers.

Could Cooper DeJean be the next Micah Hyde for the Buffalo Bills?

The Buffalo Bills lost a lot of experience on the defensive side of the ball, particularly in the secondary. This includes starting cornerback Tre'Davious White along with both starting safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde.

If the Bills were to select Cooper DeJean they certainly could try him out at cornerback but he might be a perfect replacement for Hyde. Both players played at Iowa before going to the NFL and back in 2022, head coach Kirk Ferentz used Hyde as a player comparison to describe Cooper DeJean.

It is a comparison that makes a lot of sense as Hyde in the early part of his career didn't have a true position and moved around from nickel to safety. However, once he joined the Bills he was a full-time starter at safety and his skill set was a perfect match for Sean McDermott's scheme.

While the focus will be on wide receiver in the early part of the 2024 NFL Draft for the Bills, DeJean should be a real consideration if he is still available when Buffalo is on the clock.