Broncos find their left tackle in first round of NFL draft
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — John Elway continued injecting some venom into his offensive line Thursday night when he selected Utah left tackle Garett Bolles with the 20th pick of the NFL draft.
That’s the lowest the first O-lineman has ever come off the board in the modern draft.
Four days earlier, Elway expressed confidence he could find a starting-caliber left tackle in a class relatively weak on offensive linemen.
The Broncos missed the playoffs last season for the first time in his six-year tenure. So, Elway went about adding some nastiness in the trenches this offseason.
He signed free agents Domata Peko and Zach Kerr on defense and Ron Leary and Menelik Watson on offense.
The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Bolles, a punishing run blocker, fits the same nasty profile.
A troubled teenager, Bolles went the junior college route before going one-and-done at Utah, where he was named first-team All-Pac 12.
The 24-year-old served his Mormon mission in Colorado Springs.
“I love Colorado. I have a heart there because those are the people I taught on my mission,” Bolles said at the combine, where he ran a 4.95 40-yard dash. “If I end up going there, I’d be just fine.”
An emotional Bolles held his newborn son, Kingston, as he walked on stage at draft headquarters in Philadelphia and declared, “Denver, I’m coming back home!”
Bolles said he not only brings good footwork to the pros but also a maturity born from his wayward past.
“I have a plan, I have a mission. When you become a husband and you become a father, you have to sort of grow up and you have to become the person you want to be. And I plan to do whatever it takes,” Bolles said. “And I don’t even know the old Garett, in case you guys were wondering. … I don’t even know who that old Garett is.”
Well, on the field, he still recognizes him.
“When I’m on the field, I want to put people in the dirt,” Bolles said. “And that’s what I’m here for. As an offensive lineman, you want to be the nasty (jerk) that you can be. And whoever’s in front of me, I want to drive them and put them in the dirt. So I’m just going to try to be that every single day.
“And when I come off the field, I love my family. I just learned how to turn the switch to go back to the new Garett.”