Eagles 2nd-rounder, pre-draft invitee among rookies expected to make 1st-year impact

Cooper DeJean is mentioned as a 2024 second-rounder expected to make an immediate impact as a rookie, but so is someone else the Eagles visited with.
Cooper DeJean, Philadelphia Eagles
Cooper DeJean, Philadelphia Eagles / Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen /

They've been here for a while now. We've had plenty of time to digest the news that Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean were both drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. Just days before the 2024 NFL Draft, we were mostly of the opinion that both could be off the board by the time the Birds were on the clock with the 22nd overall selection. We were also assuming, more often than not, Philly would have to trade up if they were going to land one or the other. What can we say? We were very, very wrong.

Mitchell fell to the Birds in Round 1, and Philly landed him without having to move. They traded up in Round 2, giving away the 50th and 53rd selections to land Coop at 40. Just like that, two of the guys most considered to be among the top three corners in the selection meeting (if they didn't have them ranked as the top two) were both Eagles. That brings us back to our original statement. We can't believe that happened.

Eagles DB Cooper DeJean is named among six second-day draftees expected to make immediate impact for their respective teams as rookies.

Okay, we've pinched ourselves long enough. We've been waiting to wake up from this dream for a good while now. It appears that this is reality and the news won't change. Mitchell and DeJean have both been added to a position group we've asked questions about.

Recently, Sports Illustrated's Gilberto Manzano left Mitchell off his list of seven first-rounders who will make immediate impacts in year one. DeJean, however, lands on Manzano's list of second-day prospects who are expected to be the same along with someone Philly hosted during their pre-draft visits, former Texas A&M linebacker Edgerrin Cooper.

Mazano's thoughts on Cooper can be read in the same story. Philly will see him in Week 1 as he has landed with the Green Bay Packers, but for those interested, here's some of what was said about DeJean:

"It’s unknown whether DeJean will play safety or cornerback in Vic Fangio’s defense, but it will likely be a combination of both after how poorly things went for the Eagles’ secondary last season."

We disagree with that sentiment slightly. Philly may elect that taking more off Coop's plate is wiser than giving him too much to think about. You never know though. It's just a theory, but while you mull that over, here's more from Mazano.

"The versatile DeJean could be the starting slot cornerback or a starting safety next to C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who returned in March as a free-agent acquisition (That too we disagree with. Avonte Madox figures to start if healthy). If he’s in the slot, DeJean will have the luxury of playing next to Darius Slay and fellow rookie Quinyon Mitchell, the team’s first-round pick. DeJean likely will have an easier time getting acclimated to the pro level than Mitchell because outside cornerbacks tend to struggle early in their careers. Overall, the Eagles’ secondary will be better off after Philly landed two of the best defensive backs in the draft. DeJean, however, could have competition with Sydney Brown and Reed Blakenship at safety."

Much of what Mazano says makes sense. There are areas where we can disagree, There's no guarantee that Philly will move on from Bradberry (even though we mentioned him among several veterans whose roster spots aren't safe). There's a strong chance he will be around but with a short leash.

Mitchell should land behind Darius Slay and James Bradberry on the depth chart to begin his career. We could toss theories back and forth about DeJean.

We mentioned his versatility. That could result in him occasionally playing the third safety's role in any 'big nickel' defensive sets Philly might be interested in running. Regardless of where you stand on that front, here's the point.

Again... We can't believe both are here, but we're stoked that they are. Philly walked into the NFL Draft with huge concerns at cornerback, and they satisfied a need two times over.

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