T Garett Bolles, Utah
6-5 300lbs pic.twitter.com/jWMX5TLsnT
— Chase K (@CoolNinja3100) February 26, 2017
Garett Bolles and Haason Reddick might be this years answer to Sheldon Rankins and Keanu Neal.
Rankins tested as one of the most explosive players in the 2016 draft, while Neal possessed a combination of great athleticism and intensity. They screamed ‘top-20’.
There was a general feeling within the national/draft media that Rankins could fall into the 20’s (he was often mocked to the Seahawks) and Neal was being projected in the second round by many if not most.
They ended up going at #12 and #17 overall.
This year a lot of mocks pair Bolles with Seattle. Reddick is starting to rise in the national draft coverage but you’ll still see the occasional pairing with Pittsburgh at the end of round one.
In my latest mock draft I had Bolles at #6 to the Jets and Reddick at #11 to the Saints.
Bolles had a terrific combine, highlighted by a superb 9-7 broad jump and a 3.00 TEF score (TEF explained here). His tape is exceptional. There just aren’t many college tackles capable of opening their hips and turning a D-liner to open up running lanes with the mastery shown by Bolles. His desire to reach the second level and punish linebackers/DB’s is especially appealing.
At the combine he was asked about his playing style. His response?
“As an offensive lineman, you want to be the nastiest p***k that you can be.”
These aren’t just empty words. That’s exactly how he plays on the field. Every snap. Every game.
The positional value, the attitude, the way he’s turned his life around, the athleticism. Everything matches up.
Here’s a piece we wrote about Bolles in November detailing what makes him such an exciting prospect.
Reddick meanwhile ranked as the second most explosive tester at this years combine (per TEF):
Myles Garrett — 4.21
Haason Reddick — 3.93
Solomon Thomas — 3.83
Jordan Willis — 3.70
Ife Odenigbo — 3.61
Myles Garrett’s physical profile is generational. Reddick is much smaller and therefore less freaky — but he’s still a tremendously explosive athlete. Considering his terrific final year at Temple (22.5 TFL’s) plus his character, grit and versatility to play several roles (including rushing the passer) — he looks like a lock to crack the top-15.
It’s hard to imagine either lasting to #26. Even if Bolles’ age factors in and the inflated free agent spending is a review of how teams view this O-line class — someone between #4 and #25 will surely roll the dice?
And yet here’s some words from Daniel Jeremiah to at least offer some hope if you’re #1 choice for Seattle in round one is an offensive linemen who ‘wants to be the nastiest p***k’ he can be:
“Much has been made about the lack of elite offensive linemen in this year’s draft class. I don’t believe we will see a lineman drafted in the top 10, which is a very rare occurrence. However, I do believe we will see four of them come off the board in the first round. Western Kentucky’s Forrest Lamp is clearly the top interior offensive line prospect and I have him as the best linemen overall as well. I expect him to go in the top 20. Here are the three offensive tackles likely to land in the first round: Garett Bolles (Utah), Cam Robinson (Alabama) and Ryan Ramczyk (Wisconsin).”
He goes on to say…
“As mentioned above, it is a three-player race to be the first offensive tackle off the board. In talking to coaches and scouts around the league, the name generating the most buzz is Alabama’s Cam Robinson. He’s not without faults on tape (he overextends too much and his balance is an issue at times) but he has outstanding size, length and power. He had a combine workout that was better than people expected, and he was very impressive in his team interviews. I won’t be surprised if he ends up being the first offensive tackle selected, landing between picks 15 and 20.”
If the first tackle leaves the board as late as the 20th pick and it isn’t Bolles, he will be within striking range for Seattle. Here are the teams picking between 21-25:
#21 Detroit — spent millions on their O-line in free agency
#22 Miami — have greater needs at linebacker and safety
#23 New York Giants — could be a consideration
#24 Oakland — more likely to focus on defense
#25 Houston — could consider O-line but currently have no long-term quarterback
Of course, this assumes Jeremiah’s scenario plays out as suggested. You need Cam Robinson to be the first tackle off the board and Forrest Lamp to be the first O-liner. Bolles needs to last beyond the top-20.
It still seems a stretch. After all, Jeremiah didn’t rank Germain Ifedi in his top-50 prospects right before the 2016 draft and he had Taylor Decker at #31. With hindsight, both players were underrated in terms of their placing in last years class.
(DJ also had the aforementioned Rankins and Neal at #26 and #46 respectively)
The Jets at #6, the Panthers at #8, the Bengals at #9, the Colts at #15 and the Ravens at #16 could all seriously consider Bolles. At the absolute latest he’d be a great pick for the Broncos at #20.
He was the best left tackle in college football last season and he’s the best offensive lineman in this draft.
Bolles, if he lasted, has the potential to be a stud right tackle for this team. He possesses the punishing tenacity and attitude of Breno Giacomini with a far superior explosive, athletic profile. His backstory is the definition of ‘Seahawky’.
If Luke Joeckel can provide some consistency and solidity to the left tackle position, a group consisting of Joeckel-Glowinski-Britt-Ifedi-Bolles might afford the Seahawks an opportunity to take a step forward in 2016, even if they aren’t that much more experienced than they were a year ago.
Alternatively they could also put Joeckel at left guard and show faith in George Fant’s development at tackle.
The other thing to consider is whether another first round pick on an offensive lineman is part of Seattle’s plan. At the combine John Schneider admitted they were too young and raw in 2016. Another first round pick only adds more inexperience to the O-line.
While there’s a feeling that their greatest current weakness is the O-line, this team is known to plan ahead. And that could mean focusing on the defense (this is, after all, very much a defensive draft).
Kam Chancellor is out of contract in a years time, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, K.J. Wright and Cliff Avril come off the books in 2019.
Could they all re-sign? Possibly. We also know Chancellor and the Seahawks have had financial disagreements before, Thomas has contemplated retirement and the recent talk about Sherman casts a new light on his future (notice that the rumour hasn’t been denied anywhere?).
Look at the Arizona Cardinals as an example of how things can change very quickly. They lost several key defensive pieces in free agency and in a year might lose Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald to retirement.
There isn’t a quarterback in waiting at the moment. The Cardinals face, possibly, the prospect of a semi-serious rebuild over the next 2-3 years.
The Seahawks are unlikely to make this mistake and that’s why finding possible long term pieces for their secondary and at linebacker could be the key to this draft, even if everyone else thinks they’ll zone in on the O-line again.