When the Denver Broncos selected a little known offensive lineman from the University of Florida with the 133rd overall pick in May the local media needed to quickly Google the name Max Garcia. The team again went big man 70 draft picks later but this time on the defensive side and swooped up Darius Kilgo. A deeper search into the internet ensued.

However, nearly four months later every beat reporter, sports radio host and dedicated Broncos fan knows both players. Garcia and Kilgo have not only already turned heads at camp, but both have climbed up the depth chart with a fury in the last two weeks, will be contributors Saturday versus the San Francisco 49ers and will impact the team in 2015.

“I’m excited about it,” John Elway said in regards to the young talent on the roster July 30. “They are young, they’re tough, they’re athletic, they want to play so they are going to come into training camp and they are going to learn fast.”

Elway drafted both Kilgo and Garcia with the normal expectation of getting them acclimated to the NFL in year one and making major contributions in their sophomore season, yet as training camp went on both players repetitions increased.

Garcia started camp as the second-string left guard but quickly supplanted Ben Garland and has been the starter for the two preseason games. Tuesday Garcia admitted that he wasn’t expecting to move up the depth chart so quickly when asked about starting in Houston and Seattle.

“To be honest no. I just thought I would come in here and work hard, learn the playbook and eventually work my way up but I didn’t think it would happen this quickly. I am extremely fortunate for the opportunity they have given me and I’m just going to run with it.”

Just hours after Tuesday’s practice the Broncos agreed to terms with veteran, Pro Bowl left guard, Evan Mathis, to a one-year contract. The signing of Mathis obviously puts Garcia back to a backup role but that does not diminish the rookie’s value as a 4th round selection that has progressed quickly through the offseason. He played both guard positions as well as center in college and has shown that he can be relied on to step in. It is safe to say that Garcia has been acclimating well to his new teammates and it is the process off the field, that he takes as serious as his on-field play.

“We are all young guys trying to learn the ropes together. We are going through the grid, the same experiences and just talking to each other. Ty and I are getting closer as the weeks go by and that is something that we need to do. We are going to be the guys holding it down on the left side so we need to be as close as we can be on and off the field. That will create better chemistry on game day.”

Kilgo was also taken late in the draft and certainly was not on most people’s radar despite being a three-year starter at nose tackle for the University of Maryland. The Broncos selected him in the sixth round and expected him to sit behind Sylvester Williams and Marvin Austin Jr. Yet, Austin Jr. has had injuries and conditioning issues that landed him on the injured reserve and Kilgo’s play in two preseason games have slipped him into the backup role at nose tackle. Much like Garcia, the heavy playing time has come as a surprise.

“I didn’t expect it, you know and by getting this playing time it has given me the chance to show everyone what I can do. Every time I get in there I am trying to take advantage of my opportunity and play to the best of my ability.”

Through those two games, last Saturday’s in Houston in particular, Kilgo played against starters and showed great physicality and technique. According to Pro Football Focus he has played in 63 defensive snaps through the two preseason games, the most on the team. He also has recorded two impressive sacks so far. Kilgo has been taking advantage of his increased playing time and is looking forward to continuing to do so when the 49ers come to town tomorrow.

“It is great anytime you get to go in there and go against their first and second team. It gives you the experience you need for the season. I just try to go in there every time and take advantage of the opportunities. “

Head coach Gary Kubiak understands the rigors of training camp and was asked how his offensive line was shaping up and his answer was simple.

“I think every day is a test. Every week’s a test, but I think what they’ve done so far has been positive. We are trying to get them ready to go against a really good group here in three weeks.”

Kilgo and Garcia have been pleasant surprises thus far and have passed Kubiak’s test but remain focused.

“I think that the biggest thing this week would be just not losing sight of what the goal is, getting better,” Garcia said Tuesday. His teammate Kilgo had similar ideas heading into week three of the preseason. “The biggest thing is just doing your job. Everyone has an assignment on defense and that is one thing I’m really focusing on is not making any mistakes.”

Both Garcia and Kilgo entered the NFL as “no-name”, late selections in the draft with their upside to come in years two, three and beyond but already they have received more and more trust and opportunities from the Broncos’ staff. While they may not start games for the Broncos this season, they certainly will contribute and it already appears that Elway and Co. didn’t make a mistake by passing on either big man.

Email Sam at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @SamCowhick.