The NFL Draft is less than a month away and it’s time to take a look at the options the Denver Broncos should pursue with their first round pick. It’s no secret that Denver’s number one priority this offseason has been the offensive line. In free agency they signed former Cowboys guard Ronald Leary, and former Raiders tackle Menelik Watson, immediately improving an area that was so shaky last season. However, they allowed starting left tackle Russell Okung to sign with the division rival Chargers, leaving a void at that position.
The Denver Broncos Should Draft Garett Bolles
Unfortunately for teams with strong offensive line needs, the 2017 draft class is one of the weaker ones for linemen. The benefit for the Broncos, however, is with the 20th pick, they should have their choice at just about any linemen they want.
Garett Bolles fits the build of an NFL-caliber tackle. He stands at 6’5″ and weighs just a shade under 300 pounds.
Scouts say that he has the “sweetest feet” in the draft and there is no angle that he can’t get to. He has elite lateral quickness in the run game and can set the edge for outside blocks. Speed and technique are impressive for a man of this stature. He only played one season of FBS ball so the consensus is that he will only get bigger and stronger once he gets into an NFL weight program.
Before joining the Utes, Bolles played two years at the premiere JUCO program of Snow College. In those two years, he became a five-star recruit and was highly garnered by all of the top programs in the country including Florida State, Alabama, and Ohio State. He was ranked as the second overall JUCO prospect and chose to stay close to home, joining the University of Utah.
In his first and only season, he earned First Team All-Pac 12 honors, demonstrating his promise as a future NFL prospect.
With the hire of Mike McCoy as offensive coordinator, it is not completely known if the Broncos will revert to a power running scheme, or continue with the zone. Bolles quickness and foot speed make him a better fit in a zone scheme, however, that is not to say that he cannot grow into a power blocker. New head coach Vance Joseph and McCoy have said since day one that they will develop an offensive scheme suitable for the players that they have on the roster.
As the roster is currently constructed, Donald Stephenson, who played right tackle last season, and Ty Sambrailo, who struggled mightily when spelling Russell Okung, will battle it out for the starting left tackle position.
If Bolles continues to work on his fundamentals and gets even stronger in the gym, he could be the starting left tackle by midseason or earlier. He has the tenacity that scouts want and loves to finish blocks, something Ronald Leary was recognized for last season in Dallas.
You never want to hear “a work in progress” when describing your first round pick, but Bolles has the highest ceiling of any tackle in the draft and could develop into one of the premiere linemen. Passing on him would be foolish when this is the greatest area of need for the Broncos at this time.