Garett Bolles’ time as a member of the Denver Broncos has been a slippery slope.
When Denver drafted him with their 2017 first-round pick, they were expecting the Utah Ute to step in and anchor the Broncos’ offensive line for years to come.
A stocky grunt, Bolles is built to play in the NFL; however, his mental toughness and ability to make adjustments have been questioned through his first three seasons in the NFL.
Bolles’ biggest issue is his inability to cleanly block his opponent. Bolles racked up 28 holding penalties through his first two full NFL season’s and that trend continued into the 2019 season.
Bolles has piled up 15 penalties this season which has stalled drives and ravaged the Broncos’ offensive game plan. That said, No. 72 has improved as this season has progressed, and has shown signs of growth as the 2019 season comes to a close.
While the holding calls have been troublesome, Bolles has been the most consistent link on the Broncos’ offensive line this season, playing every snap for the team. His consistency has helped the Broncos deal with an offensive line that has been plagued with injuries this year.
Coach Vic Fangio praised Bolles for his consistency and dedication to the team during practice this week.
“The one thing about Garett that gets forgotten about and not mentioned much is he’s there every day—every day to practice, every game to play, he plays every play and he’s reliable in that regard,” Fangio explained. “I think that’s an important quality that you’re looking for in all players. He’s done that. He has played better this last—I don’t want to say what game it started, but this recent past he has played better.”
Many have clamored for the Broncos to move on from Bolles following extended periods of poor play, but his performance down the stretch could indicate he will be with the team next season and possibly beyond. In all likelihood, he will again be the starting left tackle in 2020; his rookie contract is four years, and that’s the final year of the deal.
If Bolles manages to clean up his penalties, he could prove to be a valuable commodity for Denver given his effectiveness in the run game.
Aside from being reliable, Bolles has the skillset to be a solid lineman in the NFL should he improve the mental component of his game.
Denver will likely target a tackle or two in the coming draft, but there is still a chance for Bolles to solidfy himself as a member of the Broncos line should he finish the season strong.