Garett Bolles is one of John Elway’s most maligned draft picks, and with good reason. However, the folks over at Pro Football Focus believe the Bolles criticism has crossed the line.
In a recent article listing every team’s most underrated player, PFF’s Ben Linsey listed Garett Bolles as his pick for the Broncos.
“While it’s fair to harp on the penalties for Bolles after he ranked among the top-three offensive linemen across the league in penalties in each of the past three seasons, the negativity surrounding Bolles has gone too far,” wrote Linsey. “It’s hard to say he qualifies as a bust. Looking at qualifying left tackles since 2017, Bolles’ overall grade of 77.1 puts him at 15th out of 37 total players. Sure, that’s not the high-end player Denver was hoping for when it took him in the first round, but Bolles is still at least an average starter — not the bottom-of-the-barrel option he is sometimes portrayed to be.”
Linsey makes a convincing argument. Bolles did show signs of improvement down the stretch last season and despite being penalized more than almost anybody, Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil — widely considered to be the best young tackle in the game — was flagged one more time than Bolles and allowed just one fewer sack.
That being said, Bolles’ holding calls are devastating to Denver’s offensive rhythm, and that alone makes the title of “average starter” feel just a touch rich. He was one of just three players to hit the mark of 20, for sacks allowed and holdings combined last year, and only rookie Jaguars tackle Jawaan Taylor had more.