Fair or not, the first round of the Denver Broncos 2017 NFL Draft may well be judged by fans as much on the players the team didn’t get — Ryan Ramczyk, O.J. Howard, Christian McCaffrey — as the one they did — Garett Bolles.
The 25-year-old Bolles — a 6-foot-5, 297-pound guard from the University of Utah — had been the Broncos target at No. 20 all along, despite calls for the team to pursue players with potentially more immediate impact.
“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,” general manager John Elway said in a press conference Thursday night at UCHealth Training Center.
“You know how valuable that is, any tackle for that matter. We really feel like we’re fortunate that he was there.”
Denver did discuss other prospects as they were “pushed down” and “jumping off” the draft board, likely among them Alabama tight end Howard, who fell from his project top-10 slot to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 19.
And still on the clock when the Broncos picked at No. 20: defensive backs Gareon Conly and Jabrill Peppers and linebacker Reuben Foster, who fell due to off-the-field incidents in recent weeks.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter also reported that the Broncos did explore trades to not only move up to take local favorite McCaffrey, whose father Ed played wide receiver for Denver late-1990s and early-2000s, but also Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas.
Denver explored a trade up for Christian McCaffrey, inquired about Joe Thomas’ availability, but ultimately stayed put at 20 for an OT.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 28, 2017
Ultimately, Elway and company settled on staying put at No. 20 and going with the “best guy on the board” in Bolles.
“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,” Elway said. “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.
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.
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