NFL Draft: Eagles trade up to grab Iowa DB Cooper DeJean after slide out of first round

Stop us if you've heard this before: The Philadelphia Eagles nabbed a star college defender who probably shouldn't have fallen to them.

The Eagles at least made some of their own luck on Friday, trading up to grab Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean with the 40th overall pick after his slide out of the first round. They made the trade with the Washington Commanders, reportedly sending away the No. 50, 53 and 161 picks in exchange for No. 40, 78 and 152.

DeJean was widely seen as a potential first-round pick going into Thursday, ranked by Yahoo Sports' Nice Tice as the No. 18 prospect in the draft. He wound up not hearing his name called, and he had to wait a while in the second round too.

In DeJean, the Eagles are getting a versatile defensive back who helped give Iowa one of the best defenses in the country last year. His prowess as a returner is also a significant asset now that kick returns are poised to make a comeback due to recent NFL rule changes.

Cooper DeJean will be a weapon on both defense and special teams for the Eagles. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
Cooper DeJean will be a weapon on both defense and special teams for the Eagles. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

Here's what Tice had to say about DeJean:

"A top-shelf athlete who has Pro Bowl potential at outside cornerback, slot, safety or punt returner. DeJean is competitive, a strong tackler and loves to press receivers when working on the outside, with clean hands to avoid penalties and the coordination and speed to stay in lockstep. He can rely on his ability to recover a bit too often, but when you have DeJean’s burst, I guess you can get away with it. I would like to see DeJean in a more press-and-man-heavy scheme because his ability to mirror wide receivers without using his hands would be a real asset.

"A playmaker no matter where he is on the field, DeJean’s ability to impact the game in a variety of ways will help any defensive back end or special teams unit."

That sounds like a perfect fit for an athletic and mean Eagles defense, which has made a habit of picking up underrated prospects like Jalen Carter. Philadelphia went for another defensive back in the first round, picking up Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell with the 22nd overall pick.

Doubling up isn't surprising considering cornerback was one of Philadelphia's biggest needs entering the draft.

The Eagles are considered one of the better drafting teams in the NFL under general manager Howie Roseman. Sometimes, that means letting the draft come to you. Other times, you have to make a move for a prospect you want.