Some dreams came true and some were undoubtedly crushed as the 2017 NFL Draft kicked off Thursday evening. We know some Broncos fans were pulling for Colorado native and Stanford standout running back, Christian McCaffrey, to be hoisting the orange and blue No. 1 jersey — but he was taken by Carolina 12 picks before the Broncos were up.
However, Denver’s first round pick, Garett Bolles, is no runner up. The 6’5” 297-pound offensive giant out of Utah is exactly what the football doctor prescribed for Denver. It was no secret that last year’s offensive line was, well, atrocious. The Broncos struggled with quarterback protection and on the ground production, thanks to the lack of blocking from their line.
Bolles is known for his supreme run protection, his agility and quickness (top marks for linemen at the NFL Combine), and his mean streak that comes out on the field. Looking at the guy, you wouldn’t think he has a mean bone in his body. Especially after he came out on the stage to accept his new hat and jersey tenderly toting his baby son. Bolles has called his four-month-old, Kingston, and his wife, Natalie, the love and joys of his life. Perhaps because his life now is a complete 180-degrees from his childhood.
The early years of Bolles’ life were surrounded by alcohol, drugs, and gang affiliations, culminating in his being kicked out of the house by his father at age 19. He was taken in by the lacrosse coach at his high school, who offered a place to stay in return for a change in behavior.
Bolles did all that and more, and found his redemption in football at Snow College in Utah. From there he became a Utah Ute, and in one year, impressed NFL scouts enough to declare for the draft.
Now 24, Bolles has been given the opportunity of a lifetime. But it won’t come without its own set of challenges. While he has a lot of strengths, scouts were quick to point out that his sub-300 weight will be a problem in the NFL. He will be going up against the biggest and baddest guys in the nation, and he has to be strong enough and big enough to hold his own.
But hard work has never been something Bolles shies away from.
“If you come in and you have a big mouth and not work, they’re not going to like you,’’ he told SB nation’s Thomas George. “If you shut your mouth and go in and work hard and get better, they love you.’’
Here’s to hoping Bolles does just that, and earns the love of Bronco nation, even without the added cuteness of his little son.
Check out this highlight video of some of the Bolles’ best plays.