Chicago, IL—The Denver Broncos expended their fourth round pick and their first of day three of the NFL Draft, on Florida center Max Garcia. Garcia can immediately compete with Gino Gradkowski and last season’s sixth round pick Matt Paradis for the Broncos starting center position.
Although Gradkowski likely projects today as the first unit center, the 6-foot-4, 309-pound Garcia is experienced and balanced enough as a player to push him. Paradis is the wild card, because he spent all of 2014 on the practice squad.
But Gary Kubiak has expressed praise and high hopes for Paradis. With the Broncos sending Manuel Ramirez to Detroit in the draft day trade that led to selecting Missouri outside linebacker Shane Ray, it left a hole in the Broncos interior offensive line depth. Garcia stops that gap.
I was able to get an close look at Garcia at the Senior Bowl practices all week in Mobile, AL. and I can see why the Broncos like this kid, although I do question whether Garcia is the best fit for the zone blocking scheme. MHH resident draftnik Erick Trickel echoes my concern.
”I don't see the scheme fit with Garcia. He doesn't move well, nor does he have the footwork and foot quickness to handle ZBS responsibilities. He’s a phone booth mauler type. Think Manny Ramirez but smaller and more versatile.”
Ramirez gets a lot of grief from Broncos fans, but the truth is he was a powerful interior player, with a nasty streak, who could be called on to wear many hats. There's a reason John Elway really liked him. If Garcia can follow suit and lead with his versatility, he could be shaped into a major asset for the Broncos.
Following day three of practices for the Senior Bowl's North Squad, Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton, whom the Browns selected at No. 12 in the first round on Thursday, told us that Max Garcia was his most difficult assignment in one-on-one drills. That's saying something, when you consider that Shelton battled Duke's Laken Tomlinson (Detroit first round pick) all week too.
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