ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos have chosen another Ohio State linebacker.
After selecting Baron Browning on Friday, Denver selected linebacker Jonathon Cooper with the 239th pick.
“Me and Baron are really close — that’s like my dog,” Cooper said Saturday. “I can’t wait to reunite with him in Denver. I’m pretty sure we are going to have a lot of conversations and Denver did a great thing with getting two Buckeyes. They got two great players. Just ready to get after it with him.”
Cooper was a third-team All-Big Ten player in 2020 as he started all eight of the team’s games and led the Buckeyes in sacks with 3.5.
A two-time team captain, Cooper also earned honorable mention All Big-Ten Honors in 2018 as he posted 2.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss.
Cooper finished his career with 75 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, one forced fumble and two passes defensed in 45 games. He started 25 contests for the Buckeyes.
“Honestly, the feeling is surreal,” Cooper said. “I can’t wait to be a part of Denver with Baron. I just can’t wait. I know that they are going to get an amazing player who is going to give it everything that they’ve got. I feel blessed right now.”
Cooper is expected to join a room that includes Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, which Cooper said will be “amazing.”
“I plan to pick their brains completely and see how they do everything, honestly,” Cooper said. “With a rookie coming in and to have great, veteran guys who have been in the league for a long time, I just want to be able to learn and apply whatever I can learn to my game. I want to become the best player that I can be for the Broncos.”
As he transitions to the NFL, Cooper will have to add coverage ability to his skill set, Head Coach Vic Fangio said Saturday.
“In the system he played in at Ohio State, he wasn’t out in space very much,” Fangio said. “That’s a big transition for a lot of guys, one that we do each and every year with one or two guys from college. We’ll see how he does with it, but we like the makeup. You’ve obviously had a taste of it already, so when you have that kind of makeup, you can fight through and make the transition and not get too discouraged.”
Cooper also expects to contribute on special teams.
“I did a lot of that in the early years,” Cooper said. “I feel like special teams is the groundwork to start out your career. That’s how it was at Ohio State, so I am definitely accustomed to playing special teams.”
In addition to his talent as a player, Cooper also impressed the Broncos with his character as a leader.
“Most these players we drafted — all the players — we’re looking for that type of makeup,” General Manager George Paton said Saturday after the draft. “And he’s special with the makeup. I went to the Ohio State pro day and just watching the way he competed and went about his workout and took it serious and how he worked out and what type of shape he was in, and then you speak with the kid. He’s everything you want in a teammate, in a player and representing the organization.”