Grading The Denver Broncos First Round Selection Of Offensive Tackle Garett Bolles

For the Huddle Up Podcast with Carl Dumler and Nick Kendell, the fellas discussed a number of offensive line prospects including the Denver Broncos' first round selection Garett Bolles. Here is our tag-teamed scouting report along with a pre-draft and post-draft overview.

Garett Bolles, OT, Utah Utes

http://www.scout.com/player/195266-garett-bolles?s=101

Arms: 34 inches

40-Time: 4.95 seconds

Vertical Jump: 28 inches

Broad Jump: 115 inches

3-Cone Drill: 7.29 seconds

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.55 seconds

Positives

• Elite athleticism—hearing he will shock people at the Combine (update: he did lol)

• Great hip flip in the run game to really anchor the corner when he sets up

• Great technique in keeping his hips over his knees to win with leverage and not get over extended

• Aggressive attitude where he wants to destroy people and make them eat turf

• Multiple instances of ‘looking for work’ and leveling guys with LG Isaac Asiata

• Very little issues getting to the second level in the run game, very fluid and easy mover in space

• Has room to grow and add to his frame to get even better and more powerful, probably can add 10-15 lbs without hampering any athleticism

• Long arms to keep defenders off his body

• Has worked hard to change his life since rough high school years and family to keep him grounded (married and expecting)

• Played at altitude for Utah so wouldn’t have as big of an adjustment in Denver

• Has tremendous athletic upside, if he were 3 years younger would pry be a top 10 pick

• Speed to power is often a defensive line term, but it applies to offensive line as well. Going from line to second level and firing at defenders, can really launch himself. Should get better as he enters NFL and joins Strength and Conditioning Program

• Phenomenal pull blocker. Stays very tight to offensive line, turns up field, locates LB or S, and destroys them (just watch UCLA tape… wow!)

Negatives

• Older prospect, will be 25 by start of next season which concerns a number of fans and teams

• On the smaller end of what you like to see at the NFL for tackle, will need to hit weight room and add to his trunk so he can better anchor

• Only 1 year of starting in the power 5 conference

• Transitioned from DT to OT, so OT is still relatively new to him (which is both a positive and negative. He def has upward trajectory)

• Questions about his past will come up as he wasn’t a great kid growing up (kicked out of home by parents in HS)

• Can get thrown off balance sometimes by a good defensive punch, especially against more powerful defenders

• Played in a spread/option offense (run heavy) so will need time to learn how to function in an NFL system

• Pass sets can be somewhat clunky for such a great athlete, but improved from beginning of the year to end of year.

• If initial punch doesn’t win, can get knocked back and hands tend to slide up chest plate. Needs to keep adding core strength and squat till that booty is competing with Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian so he can better anchor

• Sometimes his athleticism can be a downfall as his body is moving faster than his processing speed. Can result in not adjusting to defenders in flow of defense and take poor angles. Plays to spot on field, rather than adjusting to his assignment. Athleticism made up for it in PAC 12 but will need to clean up in NFL

• Horrible haircut

NFL Comparison

Jason SpriggsLane Johnson

Pre-Draft Overview

I fully believe that if Garett Bolles were three years younger or had one more year of tape, he would be a top half of the first round selection. Alas, given his age (25 by the start of next season) and one year of production, he is going to fall. He has the frame to add strength, which I believe he will, and also shows the mentality needed to hang in the trenches in the NFL.

It’s a tough business and if you don’t like hitting people over and over again, you aren’t going to make it (see Jonathan Martin). Bolles is likely a better fit in the zone blocking schme out of the gate, as he will need to get stronger to drive and down block effectively in a gap scheme, but can be very effective as a pull blocker in a power scheme either getting outside the hash marks or as a lead blocker moving from left to right (or right to left at RT).

Bolles has played at altitude, which is something that Denver has prioritized in the past in selections. One thing positive I noted when charting his games was that he improved technically over the course of the season.

To start the season, he had a multitude of penalties in holding and jumping off sides, but progressed steadily as season went on. While Robinson is bigger and stronger, and Ryan Ramczyk is more technical and methodical, if you want an athlete with a decent frame to get bigger (6’5" with 34" arms is about as ideal as it gets for OT) Bolles is your guy.

He will need to continue working on his pass sets and could struggle there out of the gate, but coming from a run first spread and a nasty disposition, Bolles will have little issue making impact on an offensive line in the run game and very well could end up the best tackle in this class. That said, he could flame out as well given his age and only having one year of tape, making him a high risk for a first round player and could scare most teams in the first round.

Age isn’t as big of a factor for offensive line as other positions that depend on burst and explosion (such as RB and WR), and many of the best offensive tackles in football being 32 years of age or older. Still, being 30 by the end of that first contract IS important to take into account.

Interviews and whiteboard session will be key to figure out intelligence after one year at D1 and to address his past and maturity since high school. Given the premium position and how starved the NFL is at tackle, Bolles should hear his named called in the latter half of round one.

Post-Draft Overview

Well, thanks to some inside sources, this pick was not much of a surprise to many of us at Mile High Huddle. The Broncos were targeting Bolles from the beginning of the draft, and he fell right into their lap.

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Elway and company were able to pick their guy without having to trade up, which is always a win. We also heard that the Giants and Buccaneers had a deal worked out for pick 19, and the Giants were going to select Bolles, but O.J. Howard fell right into Tampa Bay's lap, and was just too good to not select at 19.

The pick, while met with some criticism from Broncos fans, is a solid selection for the team going forward. While Bolles does have question marks such as his age, a limited amount of tape available and experience, and lighter than ideal for a tackle, he has tremendous upside in this offense and by all accounts was the best tackle in this draft class.

Elway also stuck true to his drafting philosophy of selecting positions of high value in the first round of the draft. Given the first round selections have a fifth-year option on a controlled salary, it is important for the salary cap structure of the roster to have cheap young players playing core positions on the team; i.e.: quarterback, edge rusher, cornerback, and offensive tackle. Elway stuck to his philosophy and that should surprise absolutely no one.

One thing also to love about the selection is how much it opens up and sets up the rest of the draft. Denver has three selections day two that they can sit back and let talent fall into their lap or target a player and trade up for them.

With plenty of talent still on the board such as Joe Mixon, Gerald Everett, Curtis Samuel, Zach Cunningham, Derek Rivers, Chris Wormley, etc, the Broncos may have an even more exciting day two for the NFL Draft.

Draft Grade: C+

Prediction: Starting Left Tackle

Nick Kendell and Carl Dumler are Broncos Draft Analysts for Mile High Huddle. Follow them on Twitter @ndkendell and @CarlDumlerMHH.

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