Broncos have arguably the biggest steal of the 2021 Draft so far

Denver Broncos rookie Jonathon Cooper. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos rookie Jonathon Cooper. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos are struggling as of late, but that doesn’t mean individual players are going unnoticed. Jonathon Cooper is balling out.

The Denver Broncos, as a team, are not playing well lately.

After starting off the season an impressive and exciting 3-0, the Broncos are losers of four straight games and are hoping to avoid a dreadful 0-5 month of October.

They can beat Washington, right?

Even during a four-game losing streak, there are positives to be taken from individual players on the team that are having some success. Notably, the Broncos are getting some great value from seventh-round pick Jonathon Cooper, who might be playing his way into the conversation of “top draft steal” from the class of 2021.

Broncos have arguably the biggest steal of the 2021 Draft so far

Cooper came into Denver and stole a roster spot from 2020 seventh-round pick Derrek Tuszka, but not only that, he has actually found a way to factor into the rotation off the edge despite the Broncos’ depth there.

Obviously, injuries have helped get him more reps than he otherwise would have, but Cooper is seizing his opportunity.

This “grade” from PFF is subjective and rather difficult to believe considering how well Odafe Oweh has played, but it’s a welcome sight nonetheless.

Their grade of Cooper is easily corroborated with his play against the Cleveland Browns.

Against Cleveland, Cooper was an absolute menace, racking up three QB hits and five total tackles on just 40 snaps (56 percent).

I’m not trying to be that guy, but Cooper’s three QB hits against the Browns nearly match the four QB hits we’ve seen from Malik Reed so far in the 2021 season. Although Reed has earned his place as the spot starter in relief of the injured Bradley Chubb, you can’t help but wonder what Cooper might look like opposite Von Miller on some extensive snaps.

The rookie has certainly earned the opportunity.

Coming out of Ohio State, it was ironically injuries that prevented Cooper from being able to show his full arsenal of talents for any consistent amount of time. Had the NCAA canceled the 2020 season due to the pandemic, Cooper may not even be getting a shot in the NFL right now.

He had a big-time postseason for the Buckeyes, followed by a great Senior Bowl, followed by an outstanding pro day workout.

The Broncos were able to get him in the seventh round and he looks like he could have been one of their top four picks.

With Bradley Chubb coming back from injured reserve in the (somewhat) near future, it would be worth the Broncos splitting Malik Reed and Jonathon Cooper’s reps in half at this point. Cooper has proven his worth not only on defense but on special teams, and went out and made plays against the Browns as a pass rusher.

We should undoubtedly see more of Cooper in the coming weeks, one way or another. If not, it’s yet another failure by this coaching staff, and those are piling up as of late.