Broncos 7th-round pick Jonathon Cooper stepping up after Von Miller trade

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When the Denver Broncos selected Ohio State edge defender Jonathon Cooper in the seventh round of April’s NFL draft, they probably didn’t plan for him to be starting midway through his rookie season.

But after trading away Von Miller and losing Bradley Chubb (ankle) and Malik Reed (hip) to injuries, the Broncos were forced to insert Cooper into the starting lineup.

The 6-3, 254-pound outside linebacker took advantage of his opportunity, recording four tackles, two quarterback hits and two sacks in Denver’s big win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10.

Cooper has now totaled 15 tackles (including two tackles behind the line of scrimmage), five quarterback hits and two sacks through nine career games, with most of those stats coming in his two recent starts.

Cooper’s obviously not going to make a Miller-esque impact, but getting good production from a late-round pick has to be exciting for Denver’s staff. Once Chubb and Reed return from injuries, Cooper will go back to a rotational role, which will help keep the team’s edge defenders fresh.

Miller will be missed, but the Broncos still have capable pass rushers.

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