Today we continue our annual 90 player roster breakdown in 90 days. If you missed the previous player breakdowns, you can check them out here.
Name: Max Garcia
Height: 6'4" Weight: 310
Age: 24 Experience: 2nd
Max Garcia was a 4th round pick out of Florida last year, and the second lineman drafted in an attempt to double down on our problem area of O-line.
Garcia originally started his collegiate career at Maryland where he played left tackle. He then transferred to Florida where he played some tackle and guard, and finally switched to center his final season with the Gators.
Max was moved over guard in camp and had a starting position locked up before we signed Evan Mathis. Even though he did not technically “start” last year, Garcia played double duty swapping in at both left and right guard on an almost drive to drive basis to spell Mathis and Vasquez who both struggled with injury.
These were both valuable reps for Garcia to improve, but also for the Broncos as he paved the way in the running game often while playing.
The Good: I was a big fan of Max Garcia when we drafted him. Even though he didn’t quite fit the Kubiak prototype in terms of athletic ability, he made up for it with toughness and strength and a nasty disposition. Last April, Laurie got some members’ thoughts on the draft and here’s what I said then:
My favorite player from this draft is probably Max Garcia. I think he really has a legitimate chance to start and own our center position for the future. He was one of only two O-linemen to rank in PFFs top 10 in pass and run block efficiency.
Plus, Danny Shelton was asked who the toughest lineman was that he faced at the Senior Bowl, and he said Garcia. I watched the lineman drills from the Senior Bowl on YouTube and can tell why Danny would say that. Max gave him a really hard time the first time they faced each other, and Shelton eventually broke through. But the second time they faced one another, Garcia absolutely stonewalled him.
I'm not worried about Max's fit in our system - especially since Kubiak doesn't seem worried about it!
Ok so I wasn’t totally accurate since he was moved to guard, but the gist was pretty close.
A year later, I still like what I see from Garcia and am glad that at least one of our linemen from last year’s draft looks to be panning out.
2nd play of the 7th drive for DEN, Max Garcia makes his best block so far, springs a 15-yd run. This lineup at OG >> pic.twitter.com/STdsnyp15g— Brandon Thorn (@VeteranScout) December 1, 2015
Garcia is obviously still young and learning the game and that is going to come with growing pains. He wasn’t perfect out there last year, and struggled some in pass protection and penalties. But, I don’t see anything that can’t coached up or improved with more reps under his belt.
Russell Okung on working with the young O-line.
“[OL] Ty [Sambrailo] is definitely transitioning to right guard. [OL] Max [Garcia] is a force, too, and [OL] Matt [Paradis] and even [OL] Donald [Stephenson] with some of the other younger guys as well. Guys are working hard. They're fighting for a spot. You can definitely tell with the tenaciousness in practices and willingness to want to be really good and do things better. I think we have a really good group.”
Garcia has flown under the radar a bit, in my opinion which means he’s doing his job in camp. Outside of Paradis, he is the most solid piece we have on the O-line as he has the LG spot locked down (as an aside, that tells you a bit about the state of our O-line when the two most reliable positions are from guys who have played one season and were drafted in rounds 4+. but that’s another blog post ;) ).
Look for Garcia to pick up where he left off last year and continue to grow. I’m excited to see he and Okung man that left side, especially in the run game.