For the last several weeks, everything we'd heard from our sources in Denver and around the league was that the Denver Broncos were enamored with Utah offensive tackle Garett Bolles. We'd heard early on Thursday that Denver was looking at trading up, if it meant securing the services of Bolles in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
As the board fell, it shaped up very well for GM John Elway. Not only would Bolles fall into his lap, Elway also had the opportunity to select a blue-chipper like Reuben Foster, or one of the other tackle prospects in the class.
"Obviously, there were a lot of good players that got pushed down and they were jumping off the board," Elway said Thursday night from Dove Valley. "There was no question that we had discussions about the different options that we felt like we were going to have. We still felt Garett was going to be that guy. When we looked at his ability and we look at our needs, we feel like he’ll be a good fit. We still believe that he was the best guy on the board and the best guy for us. It was a good mix.”
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1773403-pre-draft-flash-sale-get-... The Broncos had the choice of every offensive lineman in the class. Bolles ended up being the pick, based on his physical style of play and how he performed at the Combine. However, Elway explained why he believed Bolles was the best of the lot.
“I think athletically, the ceiling is much higher on Bolles," Elway said. "We really like that ability and the explosiveness that he has. One of the key things too, not only to get that kind of athlete at tackle with that size, but also the mentality that he’s going to bring. I think he brings a great mentality to that offensive line that needed a jolt. He’s a perfect fit for what we’ve done in free agency and what we’ve brought in. If Garett turns out to be what we think he is, he solves a big problem for us for a long time, and that’s that left tackle. You know how valuable that is, any tackle for that matter. We really feel like we’re fortunate that he was there.”
Bolles' upbringing was tumultuous. His life history has been compared to that of Michael Oher, as depicted in The Blind Side. Bolles had some questions about his past, but not his character.
From the Combine on, Bolles talked a lot about being "the new Garett", crediting his transformation to his LDS faith, and his wife and newborn son. Oddly, Bolles' past mirrors that of Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe, another guy who plays with a chip on his shoulder.
Bolles and Wolfe will have plenty of time to get to know one another in training camp. The front office and coaching staff are looking forward to it.
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“We’re thrilled with the progress that Derek has made," Elway said. "He has become a fantastic player. If Garett follows those footsteps and becomes the player that Derek is, we’ll be very, very happy with that. We were kind of giggling up there in the draft room. We’ll see how many times those two go against each other. We’re going to need a bell to stop them.”
Bolles plays to the whistle and prides himself on finishing, as does Wolfe. There is a good chance things will get chippy between them this summer, but it'll all be for a good cause. Training camp is the crucible that shapes these players — and the team — into unified a battalion.
Iron sharpens iron and there's little doubt these two players will only make each other better. Bolles was drafted in the first round to play, but as Head Coach Vance Joseph pointed out, he's still got to earn his place on the starting five.
“The best player should play," Joseph said Thursday. "Obviously, he’s a first-round pick and is going to come in and compete for that job, but he has to win that job and the best guy will play. He was drafted here for a reason.”
“I think it’s going to be a great competition," Elway said. "I think what make players better is competition. That’s one good thing that we have on our football team. We have a lot of competition at a lot of spots. We now have competition on the offensive line.”
• Keep it with Mile High Huddle as we continue to cover the Broncos' NFL Draft haul. Our coverage will include in-depth analysis of each pick and All-22 film reviews. Be sure to take advantage of our 3-for-1 Draft sale on premium memberships so you don't miss a thing!
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.