Commanders must contain Jonathon Cooper
Jonathon Cooper's logged just 4.5 sacks in two seasons. But the defensive lineman could be poised for a breakout season as a bookend edge-rusher with Randory Gregory.
Their partnership will be crucial after marquee offseason acquisition Frank Clark was ruled out for "a couple of weeks" with a hip injury, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. That helps the Washington Commanders immensely in their quest to begin the campaign 2-0.
Clark is a two-time Super Bowl winner able to rush off the edge or wreck the interior, but Cooper is more suited to playing on the outside. He is not an explosive athlete, but he'll fancy his chances of punishing a Commanders' offensive line that yielded six sacks against the Arizona Cardinals.
The 25-year-old will also stop the run, as he managed successfully against the Las Vegas Raiders. At 6-foot-3 and 254-pounds, Cooper is a load physically who can blow up tight ends at the line of scrimmage, like on this play against Austin Hooper, highlighted by Nate Tice of The Athletic.
Cooper's speed won't scare anybody, but he's a high-effort rusher who will command a lot of attention from a line under pressure to make amends after last week's feeble showing.