Broncos Camp Preview: John Franklin-Myers, Malcolm Roach among key additions to Denver’s defensive line (2024)

It's that time of year.

Broncos Training Camp powered by Ford is just a few weeks away, and DenverBroncos.com is starting its annual look at the roster before the final lead-up to the regular season begins.

Over the next several weeks, we'll turn our focus to each area of Denver's roster to get fans set for a pivotal training camp that will feature plenty of competition.

We continue with the Broncos' defensive line.

SETTING THE STAGE

As the Broncos bolstered their roster in the spring, the defensive line was a clear priority.

Adding to a unit that already featured veterans Zach Allen and D.J. Jones, Denver first signed defensive tackle Malcolm Roach to a two-year contract. Entering his fifth season, Roach has played more than 600 combined snaps across 25 games over the last two seasons. Roach also posted the best run-stop rate among interior defensive lineman in 2023, per Pro Football Focus. Denver then signed Angelo Blackson, who has appeared in 128 career games and played at least 40 percent of the snaps in games in which he appeared in five of the last six seasons.

The Broncos' biggest splash along the defensive line, though, came during the draft. Denver agreed to acquire veteran defensive end John Franklin-Myers from the Jets, and he joined the Broncos with 19.5 sacks, 135 tackles and 61 quarterback hits under his belt.

Allen returns for his second season in Denver after five sacks and a career-high 60 tackles in 2023, while Jones posted three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as he played 16 games. Matt Henningsen, entering his third season, played 20 percent of Denver's defensive snaps in 2023 as he appeared in all 17 games. Elijah Garcia and Jordan Jackson are among the Broncos' other young returning players.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

How will the Broncos' rotation take shape?

Additional talent means additional competition, and that's what Denver's defensive line should feature once training camp begins.

Allen, Jones and Franklin-Myers all started at least 16 games in 2023 and figure to be primary contributors for the Broncos during the coming season, but there should be a healthy rotation on the defensive front. Roach and Blackson each played at least 30 percent of the snaps across games in which they played for their former teams, and Henningsen saw a fifth of Denver's defensive snaps, as well.

Toss in young players like Garcia, Jackson and college free agents Brandon Matterson and Jordan Miller, and the Broncos should see healthy competition for the final spots on the roster.

There's more to see, though, than who makes the roster. Will the added depth give the Broncos the flexibility to spread the snaps out more rather than rely on a few players? Could the added muscle up front benefit the Broncos in short-yardage situations? And which players become the go-to rushers in third-and-long situations?

The pads will come on soon, and those questions will start to be answered.

PLAYER TO KNOW

*DE John Franklin-Myers *

Powerful. Consistent. Durable.

Those are just a few of the words that either Head Coach Sean Payton or General Manager George Paton have used to describe Franklin-Myers since acquiring him in a draft-weekend trade.

Franklin-Myers has had at least three sacks and 13 quarterback hits in each of his last four seasons, and he's missed just one game over the last three years. Franklin-Myers posted 14.5 sacks, 106 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 48 quarterback hits over the last three seasons, but he said in June he believes his on-field approach sets him apart.

"I play with an effort and a physicality that people just aren't willing to match," Franklin-Myers said on June 4. "It's just how I am. It's how I was designed."

Though it was difficult for Franklin-Myers to demonstrate his style of play during the offseason program, Broncos fans should soon get a sense of how Franklin-Myers performs when the pads go on.

"It's harder for him now to show you those things when we're not in pads," Payton said on June 4. "So, now, it's alignment, it's the scheme. 'Where am I at and how am I fitting?' I think we'll see a lot more of that [physicality] when we're in pads. You can't bull rush a guy out here; it's kind of hard to do. He's a powerful player."

In training camp, he'll get his first chance in Denver to help reach his goal of helping the Broncos get back to their winning ways.

"It's not so much about the money," Franklin-Myers said in June. "It's not about the fame or anything like that. It's about getting the chance to win and getting the chance to get a great opportunity to play football and to make a stamp. The Broncos have a great history of winning, and I just look forward to continuing that."

Broncos Camp Preview: John Franklin-Myers, Malcolm Roach among key additions to Denver’s defensive line (2024)

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