The pick you need isn’t always the pick you want, and I think that’s exactly how the Broncos felt when they picked Utah tackle Garett Bolles with the 20th overall pick.
The Broncos were trying to do one of the hardest things to do in the draft, trade up 10 spots to be in front of the Carolina Panthers. Denver wanted Stanford and Colorado prep star Christian McCaffrey, and everybody knew it. The Tennessee Titans were looking to move back in the draft and when the call came in from Denver’s war room, the Titans weren’t interested in sliding that far. So, the Broncos had to hold their breath that McCaffrey would slide outside the top 10. But when he didn’t, they had to go to the next best option. Utah tackle Garett Bolles.
Bolles is a mountain of a man who stands at 6’5 298lbs, who brings toughness and smarts to an offensive line room that was the worst in the NFL at times. Bolles can do it all. From typical run and pass blocking, to diagnosing the defensive and making the calls on the fly. That’s not something every lineman can do, especially in college. Many NFL lineman can’t do what Bolles did at Utah, he was clearly their best lineman. He’s a raw talent, but someone who the Broncos can develop this offseason, and by September, I think Bolls will win the starting tackle position. This was a great pick by the Broncos if Bolles can stay healthy and give in to what o-line coach Jeff Davidson is preaching to him.
Many analyst have described the second round as the round where starters are drafted. I was thinking that Denver would take an explosive offensive player to help Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch like Ohio State receiver Curtis Samuel or East Carolina receiver Zay Jones. They were both off the board within the first eight picks. The Broncos got on the clock and chose Demarcus Walker, defensive end from Florida State. It was a very confusing pick when they have Shane Ray, who was a first-round pick two seasons ago, and Shaquille Barrett, who forced his way up the depth chart coming out of Colorado State. So it really had me puzzled with this pick, until I thought about what Walker did at Florida State. He’s played both defensive end and tackle for the Seminoles, which will help the Broncos out with Ray moving into the starting position and Sly Williams signing with the Titans. They got the two for one special, and as described, a great player on the field but a great person off the field, which every team needs.
The best player the Broncos drafted was Michigan tight end Jake Butt. He was a complete stud in college, that drew comparisons to Jason Witten and Marttelus Bennet. A receiver in a tight ends body is something every team would love, but hearing the words “torn ACL” is exactly what every team doesn’t want, especially coming out of college. That’s what happen to Butt in his last college game against Walker and Florida State. Butt was going to be a for sure first round pick before the injury, but being able to snag him off the board in the top of the fifth is a great move by Elway. Prior to the draft, Denver brought Butt in for a physical to know how that knee was doing. No red flags came up, and going into the season the Broncos already know he is clearly not going to be ready by the first game, but learning behind one of the best teammates in Virgil Green. This will do nothing but help Butt’s career, and help him get acclimated to the NFL lifestyle. Butt will also have Jeff Heuerman to lean on who also tore his ACL two seasons ago.
The Broncos could have been a little more aggressive early in draft, but with the selections they were able to get was a homerun. Not just system players, but players that can come in be legitimate contenders to take someone’s spot. It won’t be easy, but the only thing they will need to do is “trust the process.”