John Franklin-Myers [608x342]
John Franklin-Myers [608x342] (Credit: Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Of all of the things the Denver Broncos did during the draft weekend last month, perhaps the most impactful move that also filled one of the team's biggest needs came rolling under the radar.

On the relatively quiet Day 3, the Broncos sent a 2026 sixth-round draft pick to the New York Jets for defensive end John Franklin-Myers. And as the Broncos move through the final stages of their offseason program, it's already clear Franklin-Myers will be worth plenty more than a late-round draft pick two years from now.

"I play with an effort and physicality that people are not willing to match,'' Franklin-Myers said following an OTA practice last week. "It's just how I am and how I was designed. The challenge is to come here and continue to do that. I'm going to do that because that's just how I am built. ... It's understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the defense and what I can do to help that. I just want to be a part of it.''

If things go the way he and the Broncos want, Franklin-Myers, who won a Super Bowl ring as a Los Angeles Rams rookie in 2018, will be a mainstay in the Broncos' defense.

Even with a late-season run when it was among the league's best in scoring defense, Denver exited the season knowing it needed more in run defense and physicality overall.

The Broncos surrendered at least 170 yards rushing in six games last season and finished 21st in sacks. When the Jets made a late-March trade for Haason Reddick and felt they no longer had room for Franklin-Myers' contract, the Broncos saw opportunity and significant need converge nicely.

"Each year, consistently you saw the numbers,'' Broncos coach Sean Payton said. "It was kind of like you couldn't even imagine how close they were [each year]. Now it came through power rush, bull rush or took an edge ... I would say when you grade or look at his pressure statistics over the last four years or five years ... they're very consistent across the board. So you see a very consistent player.''

"For three straight years he has not missed a game, and four straight years of 54-plus pressures,'' Broncos general manager George Paton said during the draft weekend. "He can play all down the line of scrimmage. The one thing that sticks out on tape is the relentless motor this guy plays with.''

As it stands in the Broncos' 3-4 look, Franklin-Myers figures to play in one of the defensive end spots, opposite Zach Allen, much of the time, with the potential to move around in some of the Broncos' specialty packages on long-yardage downs.

The Broncos' scheme varies some from the Jets', but Franklin-Myers said once the Jets cleared the way for him and his representatives to pursue a trade, his discussions with Broncos coaches, including senior defensive assistant Joe Vitt and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, made it clear to him what his role would be in Denver.

"I just heard the vision, heard what they wanted to do for me, how I could help this team and the opportunity that was presented. ... You talk about the defense they run and putting guys in good positions, that's what I'm looking forward to," Franklin-Myers said. "I'm looking forward to going out there with them and playing physical. I talked to [the coaches] and understood what the assignment was, then I was on board. I'm locked in -- a chance to grow as a person, as a football player and as a teammate, I couldn't pass that up.''

It is part of at least a partial makeover of the defense, given the departure of linebacker Josey Jewell in free agency and the release of safety Justin Simmons. Defensive lineman Malcolm Roach, who played for Payton for two seasons with the New Orleans Saints, was included in the Broncos' limited participation in free agency, as was safety Brandon Jones, linebacker Cody Barton and cornerback Levi Wallace.

"It's new, you go to a new team and you understand that it's not just football, it's everything else outside of that,'' Franklin-Myers said. "Learning the defense, understanding where to take my shots and understanding how to help my teammates be better and how they can help me be better is the challenge. Showing up is the first step, and here I am getting the chance to work with these guys each and every day ... learn each other, understand strengths and weaknesses and grow off that, continue to push the offense and ultimately win some games when it is time.''