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Broncos Acquire OLB Stephen Weatherly via Trade from Vikings, Place Micah Kiser on IR

The Broncos just took a stab at upgrading their edge rushing capabilities.

With his back against the wall, it was little wonder to see Denver Broncos' first-year GM George Paton go back to his old stomping grounds for an upgrade at rush linebacker. The Broncos announced on Saturday that the team has acquired edge rusher Stephen Weatherly and a 2023 seventh-round draft pick via the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for their own 2022 seventh-rounder. 

The trade was first reported by NFL Network's Tom Pelissero who added some background on Weatherly's goal of receiving a fresh start somewhere outside Minnesota. The Broncos will afford him that, if he can capitalize on the opportunity.

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The brutal truth is, Von Miller is nursing an ankle sprain that could cost him a game or two and Bradley Chubb is still on injured reserve for the time being. Malik Reed has been completely ineffectual as a complement to Miller, totaling just one sack and nine measly pressures on the season. 

Rookie seventh-rounder Jonathon Cooper stepped up big-time in Cleveland on Thursday, harassing Case Keenum relentlessly and finishing with a whopping five QB pressures. For those who don't math well, in one game of sizable snaps, the rookie totaled more than half the number of pressures Reed has in seven games. 

Yeah, the Broncos need some help at rush linebacker but it's only one of many glaring problems for this stuck-in-a-rut team. From coaching, to poor quarterback play, to an overall malaise and lack of intensity, the Broncos are listing and Weatherly's arrival is highly unlikely to spark a turnaround. 

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound veteran is in his sixth year out of Vanderbilt and spent his first four pro seasons with Minnesota before moonlighting for one year in Carolina. Weatherly returned to Minnesota in 2021 where he's totaled nine tackles (six solo) and zero sacks. 

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Weatherly was Minnesota's seventh-round pick in 2019 and has appeared in 64 career games (16 starts), totaling 87 total tackles (52 solo), 20 quarterback hits, 15 tackles for loss, six sacks, two forced fumbles, and one pass defensed.

Don't expect any pass-rushing miracles from Weatherly's sudden arrival. In fact, the Broncos' best hope of resuscitating their pass rush is Miller's ankle getting healthy between now and Week 7 and Reed being replaced by Cooper. The rookie Cooper played like a whirling dervish in Denver's Week 7 loss. 

That's been a concerning theme throughout this young season: the Broncos' rookie class appear to be the only players on the field who want to be there and are playing with passion and intensity. With only a few exceptions. 

In a corresponding move, the Broncos placed inside linebacker Micah Kiser on injured reserve after he suffered an injury in Cleveland. 

Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.

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