3 game-changing defensive line targets for Broncos in the 2024 NFL Draft

Denver Broncos
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The Denver Broncos head into the 2024 NFL Draft needing to add a difference maker into the interior defensive line room.

There are plenty of studs in this draft class who can add youth and become an impactful player in Mile High. While it is unlikely (but can still possibly happen if the board falls a certain way), Denver may not take an interior defender in the first round.

There is only one player that is worth that selection in the first round but the draft class has some depth at the position in the later rounds.

Here are three targets for the Broncos at interior defenseman.

DT Byron Murphy II - Texas

As I hinted above, the only interior defender worth taking in the first round is Byron Murphy II. He instantly becomes our best defensive linemen and will have a major impact day one in Denver.

I mention Murphy because there are rarely great three-techniques (DT/NT) that get out in the market. For example, it was surprising Miami let go of Christian Wilkins, and the Raiders took advantage of it and paid a ton for him.

Reason being, three-techniques are the most valuable position on defense.

Murphy will be selected in the first round, and if Denver wants to play it safe and get a bonified differencemaker on day one, he's the pick.

Despite having short arms, his punch and press are violent. Murphy has a great first step and is very explosive for his size (6'1, 305 pounds). His versatility and strength are second to none. He plays the gaps extremely well and sheds blocks like nothing.

The best part about him, too, is that he is instantly a three-down player who impacts both the run and passing game.

It may be an unpopular idea, but Murphy being a Bronco on Thursday night as the first-round pick would be the most impactful (besides quarterback) pick they can make.

DT Leonard Taylor III - Miami

The steal of the draft may be Leonard Taylor III out of the University of Miami.

For a player who has been mocked to be a first-round pick for a few months, Taylor has taken a drop in recent mock drafts and it hasn't been definitive into the reason why.

The talent pops up when watching the tape. Taylor may have the best first-step in the draft. His hands are strong and violent off the line of scrimmage and very explosive.

Taylor sheds blocks at a great rate and can be even more impactful if he gets drafted into the right system with proper coaching. He can easily be another three-technique player who can be impactful in the league for years to come.

According to PFF, Taylor's pass-rush grade (true pass set) was 98, and his pass-rush win percentage was 97. He also recorded an 82 run-stop percentage and 87 run-defense grade.

DT Maason Smith - LSU

The last and final target is Maason Smith out of Louisiana State University.

Teams may get scared from the injury history (torn ACL in 2022), but Smith just finished the 2023 season strong. He logged 582 snaps this past season and looked strong while doing so.

Smith stands at 6'6 and weighs around 310 pounds. Scouts have listed him as a "unique build" for the position but he has the ability to be an impactful player in the league.

Smith's best traits are his versatility, strength, and balance on the defensive line. When his hands are going, and he is in a rhythm, he can dominate his one-on-ones with ease. Smith had an 83% pass-rush win rate at LSU last season.

The majority of his snaps were in the B-Gap, but Smith can provide much-needed depth to the room in Denver and develop into a great player in the Mile High.