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Broncos roster review: Outside Linebacker Jonathan Cooper

Jonathan Cooper got rave reviews in last season’s training camp. Will he break on the scene as a solid depth player for the Broncos in 2022?

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos sorely need more pass rushers to develop into impact players. Jonathan Cooper has the potential to be a guy who can come in on rotation and wreak havoc as a depth player.

#53 Jonathan Cooper
Position: OLB
Height: 6’ 3”
Weight: 254
Age: 24
Experience: 2nd year
College: Ohio State

Cooper came into the league last season and was asked to fill the very large shoes of Von Miller part way into the season. After a breakout performance against the Cowboys, he faded as the season went on.

How he fits with the Broncos

Cooper is a player who is going to always face an uphill battle because of lack of God-given size and raw ability. He’s got shorter arms than you want in an NFL OLB and doesn’t have the kind of elite athleticism that makes up for it.

That being said what Cooper does have is a brain for the game much like ILB Josey Jewell. He’s excellent at reading the ball and making the right play to put himself in position to succeed. That alone can keep him in the mix as a rotational OLB, but for him to really stand out he will need to find an edge that opponents must account for whether it be in pass rush moves, raw power, or technique.

Final Word

Honestly, it is a long-shot for Cooper to really push up the depth chart. I have Malik Reed and Nik Bonito solidly ahead of him on the depth chart and with a new defensive coaching staff, Cooper may just be a guy that needs a change of scenery to get a more decent shot.

Given that I see a lower ceiling on him than other OLBs, he’ll make the team more so on special teams play than he will on showing value as a depth OLB.