Denver’s draft focus might be on the offensive side of the ball, but they could still use some help on defense too.

The defensive line looks solid for this year but an upgrade at nose tackle would be nice, and Shelby Harris and Jurrell Casey are more short-term options.

The Broncos’ linebacking core has been in need of an upgrade ever since Danny Trevathan left for Chicago in free agency, and this year is no different.

Finally, the secondary has serious questions with Bryce Callahan still a question mark after his foot injury sidelined him for over a year, and the Broncos are stuck with Isaac Yiadom behind him as their next-best option.

With all that in mind, here are some of the top players the Broncos could look at to upgrade each of those position groups.

Interior defensive line

1. Derrick Brown 2. Javon Kinlaw 3. A.J. Epenesa 4. Jordan Elliott 5. Ross Blacklock

Derrick Brown has been a wrecking ball all throughout his college career and that shouldn’t change as he transitions to the NFL. He’s one of the cleanest defensive tackle prospects to come out in the last few years and is sturdy against the run and the pass.

Kinlaw nearly finds himself at Derrick Brown’s level, and his ceiling might be even higher, but he’s a rawer prospect and will need more time to develop.

4-3 based teams will view A.J. Epenesa as an edge defender, but in Fangio’s 3-4 he would be better off serving a role similar to Dre’Mont Jones as a big defensive end pass rusher. That job is probably the better fit for Epenesa anyways at the next level.

Edge rusher

1. Chase Young 2. K’Lavon Chaisson 3. Yetur Gross-Matos 4. Curtis Weaver 5. Zack Baun

K’Lavon Chaisson is almost as clear-cut a number two, as Chase Young is a number one. Chaisson has fantastic character and work ethic, as demonstrated by him being honored with LSU’s No. 18 jersey this past season, and he’s a premier athlete to boot.

Yetur Gross-Matos is a terrific, bendy pass rusher for Penn State, but he seems to rely too much on his speed and first step and might not have the power to push NFL tackles.

Curtis Weaver is easily the worst athlete of the top five and doesn’t look the part of a high-end pass rusher but he gets the job done like one thanks to his excellent technique. He was so good in fact he is the all-time leader in the Mountain-West for career sacks.

Inside linebacker

1. Isaiah Simmons 2. Kenneth Murray Jr. 3. Patrick Queen 4. Willie Gay 5. Zack Baun

Isaiah Simmons is the star defensive player in the future. He is the antidote to the offensive mismatch as he has the requisite speed and size necessary to matchup with anyone. Toss in his defensive instincts and you’ve got a blue-chip defensive weapon.

Patrick Queen is better in coverage than Kenneth Murray and is the better athlete too, but Murray’s leadership is unparalleled on the defensive side of this class and he has three years of first-round-caliber production to Queen’s one.

Zack Baun is very reminiscent of a poor man’s Clay Matthews. He can rush the edge pretty well but he’s also adept as a linebacker in coverage and against the run. That versatility should land him a spot in round one.


1. Jeff Okudah 2. C.J. Henderson 3. Jaylon Johnson 4. Jeff Gladney 5. Kristian Fulton

Any other year C.J. Henderson would be the top defender on the perimeter, but Jeff Okudah just so happens to be the best cornerback prospect we’ve seen since Patrick Peterson. Henderson is incredible in coverage and is tackling issues can be fixed.

Jaylon Johnson and Jeff Gladney are two excellent cover corners that aren’t afraid to be physical and could each go as high as 19. That being said, Johnson doesn’t posses the size questions that Gladney does, so he gets the nod here.

Kristian Fulton will need quite a bit of refinement to reach his ceiling and his bad tape makes him look like he should go towards the back-end of round two. His good tape, however, makes him look like a top-20 pick and coaches at LSU have compared his mentality to fellow Tiger Tre-Davious White, who made his first All-Pro team this past season.


1. Isaiah Simmons 2. Xavier McKinney 3. Jeremy Chinn 4. Antoine Winfield Jr. 5. Grant Delpit

Simmons’ best safety is linebacker but he’s such a gifted athlete and his tape playing safety at Clemson is so solid he takes the top spot in this class. Chinn is incredibly similar to Chinn, but his instincts and the strength of his competition weren’t at the same caliber.

Xavier McKinney and Antoine Winfield Jr. aren’t the flashiest athletes but they’re talented, physical safeties with some of the best ball skills in the draft.

Grant Delpit has the talent to be a top-10 player in this class but his film was abysmal this year. It looks like he was giving 80% effort for most of the season, which is incredibly concerning considering his team was in the midst of a National Championship run, but his talent is undeniable.