Denver Broncos: Jonathon Cooper making most of opportunity

Denver Broncos pass rusher Jonathon Cooper (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos pass rusher Jonathon Cooper (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

Jonathon Cooper’s performance in this Denver Broncos preseason is nothing short of amazing.

Seventh-round draft picks always have an uphill battle to make a roster, but it seems Jonathon Cooper has fought that challenge head-on early in his Denver Broncos career. Cooper had heart surgery during OTAs causing him to play even harder when he returned. As a draft prospect, it seemed interesting that draft analysts viewed Cooper differently across the board.

As a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Cooper was a consummate “professional” and well regarded amongst his teammates. The team even named him team captain wearing the rare number zero for the team.

Every single year he was with the Buckeyes he showed up as an Academic All-American and All-Big Ten. He was a steady contributor to that pass rush. There’s not a whole lot wrong with his game as a player. Cooper’s hands, effort, and football IQ make him such a fascinating player for the Denver Broncos this year.

Cooper has very active hands to help create separation from a tackle. He also shows relentless effort on nearly every play. The Broncos have long loved players with a high motor. Fellow pash rusher Malik Reed was of the same cloth coming to the league as an undrafted free agent. Honestly, the best attribute that makes Cooper special, which helps his all-around game is his intellectual side.

The football smarts from Cooper help him think of the best possible move as a bull rush or athleticism when using swim moves. Cooper is very smart allowing him to think of different possibilities and scenarios where he can get to the quarterback. One area where his football IQ shows is in the run defense.

Cooper already in camp and 2020 with Ohio State showed excellent run defense and run gap responsibility. He has done a tremendous job of showing discipline and then setting the edge. Cooper’s best ability is when where his hands are strictly in the dirt. Putting Cooper in the best possible position to succeed will benefit him early and right now he is excelling in preseason games.

Cooper’s strip-sack against the Seattle Seahawks is a terrific depiction of the relentlessness and effort in his game. The first burst off the line was on full display when he got into the backfield quickly.

After the game against the Seahawks, Cooper said he was feeling like a kid again and all he could do was smile. That’s ultimately one of the better feelings for a player. If they play the game they love and enjoy doing it at the highest of levels, then it’s hard to beat that. Whether that would be preseason, regular season, playoffs, or Super Bowl, playing and enjoying the game you love is hard to beat.

It usually goes with anything in a career. Performing at your best ability in a career of your dream is the best feeling.

Cooper is even getting the praises of his teammates. Future Hall of Famer and Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller said Cooper has a high motor and is soaking up everything that’s being put on his plate. This is a quality great players have when they start in the league. Cooper must still not let the moment get too big for him and continue to be the sponge his first few years with Bradley Chubb and Miller still here.

There’s so much to love about Cooper and what he brings to the table for this team. We are excited to see what is next for him in this next preseason game.