Garett Bolles has been the center of a lot of discussion around the Denver Broncos this month. Offensive tackle was the only position on offense that the team decided to stand pat on, which means Bolles will once again be the starter this season. The team declined his fifth-year option, so the long-term outlook for him in Denver is quite bleak.
Despite that reality, Pro Football Focus released their most underrated player for each team and Garett Bolles was that guy for the Broncos on their list.
DENVER BRONCOS: LT GARETT BOLLES
Quick, what’s the word that comes to mind first when you hear Bolles’ name? Penalties? Bust? 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. 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.
We at Mile High Report pay attention to Pro Football Focus and they have been unrelenting in their support for Garett Bolles having graded him out with an overall 77.1 grade despite the tape telling a completely different story.
It was a topic that we hit hard one week, much to the annoyance of some fans but it is what it is - we can’t keep our film staffers from going wild on something they are into. Jeff Essary did a fantastic break down on Bolles’ process from college, to rookie year, to beginning of 2019 to end of the season of 2019 and noted that all of his glaring issues in technique have not improved one iota.
Joe Rowles then came out the following week trying to answer the question of whether Denver can win with Bolles in 2020. So the good news is that Pat Shurmur’s offense could utilize some of Bolles’ strengths to help Denver in the ground game. He’ll still have issues in pass protection, but there is some hope they can limit the damage he does there with his poor technique.
Frankly, PFF has taken a special interest in grading Bolles favorably for some reason and the grades have never aligned with what you see on tape. They appear to be grading on results over process, which means Bolles is getting credit for not being called for holding penalties even though the film shows he is still holding as much as he ever has and not getting called for it.
As a fan, I’m all for Bolles having an outstanding season and putting his first three seasons firmly behind him. 2020 is truly his last chance to turn things around in Denver. As far as him being the most underrated player on the Broncos roster in 2020, I’d probably put a dozen players above him minimum. Players that I would consider underrated right now would be Alexander Johnson, Todd Davis, Dre’Mont Jones, Mike Purcell, Elijah Wilkinson, De’Vante Bausby, Tim Patrick, Lloyd Cushenberry, McTelvin Agim, Melvin Gordon, Austin Fort... I could probably keep going, but maybe one could make the argument for Bolles from here on out.
Is former first-round pick Garett Bolles the Broncos most underrated player in 2020?
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