Why the Denver Broncos entire defense will be vastly improved in 2024

The Denver Broncos rebuilt their defensive front in the 2024 off-season, and because of that, everyone else's job just got easier.
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Last season the Denver Broncos defense got off on the wrong foot. To keep the hard times short, they gave up 70 points to the Miami Dolphins. Ouch. Probably didn't need to remind you of that, but it needed to be said so we can push through to where we are going. 

George Paton and Sean Payton have gone in and addressed the defense this offseason. They've added to all three levels. They started by releasing Justin Simmons and letting Josey Jewell sign in Carolina. Even with a couple of staple pieces gone, they've gone out and used that cap space to improve the defense as a whole. Starting with the most recent acquisition but the most important.

Adding John Franklin-Myers for pennies on the dollar is an absolute steal for the Broncos. They've needed another defensive end to start opposite of Zach Allen and now they've got one. He's a productive player who can play both outside and inside. That flexibility will be nice for Vance Joseph in a variety of defensive schemes. This type of move is what will ultimately help Allen, Browning, and Cooper evolve their games even further. When you have multiple weapons on the front line it requires the opposing offensive line to have to go on one more often instead of doubling down on the defense's best rusher.

The team also went and acquired Malcolm Roach, a former player of Sean Payton's from New Orleans. At the time, this wasn't as flashy of a move but a goal was to improve the rush defense which this move helped achieve to some degree. If we had known then what we know now, we would have probably reacted to a much different degree. This move in tandem with adding Franklin-Myers immediately makes Denver's front line that much more to handle on gameday.

It doesn't stop there though. When you have effective rushers up front it allows your secondary to play a little more freely. When the quarterback feels pressure they can rush their passes which allows the secondary increased chances to make plays on the ball. Disrupting the pocket can lead to interceptions, fumbles, or more times than not incomplete passes. Best yet, you want it to lead to sacks for losses. 

Paton also went out and brought in a legitimate option for starting as the team's cornerback opposite of Patrick Surtain II. This has been a spot notoriously in rough shape since drafting Surtain II back in 2021. Wallace brings a veteran presence to a young secondary who just lost Justin Simmons. Wallace also provides starting experience. He's started for both the Bills and the Steelers over the past 6 seasons. The team still believes in Riley Moss, its 3rd round selection from 2023, but until he's ready to step into the everyday role, Wallace appears to have an early shot at the position on day one.

The other key piece added to the secondary to help fill the void left in the release of Simmons was Brandon Jones. This move happened very early on in the offseason. Shortly after free agency opened, this deal was made. Jones was a productive player for the Dolphins but he isn't the ball hawk that Simmons was. Time will tell what kind of a role he will play for Joseph but a combination of Jones, Locke, and Sterns will have to make up for the absence of Simmons.

The Broncos have also made some other additions that at this time appear to be standard roster-building moves. They signed Cody Barton to either start or rotate in at linebacker. I believe Drew Sanders could also be in play here sooner than later. They then added a couple of players from the draft who could play early on if they put in a strong performance this offseason and during pre-season. Jonas Elliss and Kris Abrams-Draine are talented young men with tons of potential. Time will tell if the young guns will be ready to step up and contribute right away. Regardless, it's undeniable the improvements that have been made leading into the 2024 NFL season.