2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report
Prospect: Garett Bolles
Ht: 6'5" Wt: 300
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Entering the year, scouts were reaching to find offensive linemen that fit into the first-round conversation. Cam Robinson was the only sure thing after starting every game of his career at left tackle for Alabama, but off-the-field questions have even put his first-round value in question. Lucky for us, a pair of JUCO transfers were getting ready to step into the spotlight. Ryan Ramczyk had a coming out party in his first game at Wisconsin with a terrific debut against LSU. Bolles flew a bit more under the radar in his first year at Utah, but the former Snow College transfer brings something to this draft that it has lacked. Bolles has outstanding athleticism for the position and might be the most natural left tackle in the 2017 class, should the junior choose leave school.
Bolles has excellent feet, and his athleticism jumps off the tape. He maneuvers effortlessly while keeping his knees bent as opposed to bending at the waist. In the open field, he plays under control and is as effective as any lineman in the country. In his tape against UCLA, he repeatedly pulled with the guard on the counter. The guard took the first threat while he led into the hole and kicked out the linebacker. Joe Williams, the Utah running back set a school record in that game with 332 rushing yards. That is an advanced running play that is difficult to execute without an extremely good athlete as the lead blocker. He also pulls to the play-side on the toss-sweep as a lead blocker up the field. This kind of athleticism would make him an ideal blocker in a zone-scheme. Still, he is not limited to that. He displays a strong initial punch off the snap and can drive linebackers out of the play. He also does a good job of washing the tackle down when asked to do so. He will need to add more strength to his frame and lower half in order to play in a power-blocking scheme, but he is certainly capable of doing so.
In pass protection, he mirrors defenders well. He uses his quick feet to get into position, and his strong punch usually jars their momentum. He can lunge a bit at times, but more often, he is patient with his punch. His best competition was once again the UCLA game where he took on fellow first-round prospect Tak McKinley. McKinley got most of his production on the opposite side of the field and only twice did I count him besting Bolles. On one play, McKinley got a good jump on him, captured the edge and turned the corner. Bolles recovered well and kept McKinley from completely getting to the quarterback who didn't step up into the pocket. McKinley was able to reach out and swat the ball out of the quarterback's hand. On the other, Bolles had him neutralized before the quarterback ran outside and McKinley reversed his course, resulting in a questionable holding call. Outside of that, Bolles was dominant against McKinley, as he has been for most of the year. He also shows very good awareness, knowing who his responsibility is on blitzes and stunts.
Now while all of this paints a pretty picture, it is important to understand that Bolles is not a finished product. He needs to get stronger in his lower half for multiple reasons. He doesn't drive ends off the ball against the run well and doesn't show the ability to absorb power as a pass protector. He could also do a lot better job with his hand placement. Too often his hands end up outside when they should be inside. Against the more relentless players in the NFL, that will result in more holding penalties. It's also important to remember he only has one year of experience at a high level of college football. The jump in competition will be really big from JUCO to the NFL in a two-year span.
Overall, Bolles has room to grow, but his potential is very high. His also has the size teams covet in a left tackle, and his long arms are a plus. He has terrific character away from the field and spent time on a church mission in Colorado Springs. He will be one of the older prospects turning 25 just after the draft if he does indeed declare. In many classes, I would tab him as more of a project player, but with this class lacking player with the kind of athleticism to be a natural fit on the blindside, teams could reach for him. Still, with the right coaching and a little patience, he could end up being a steal in this class.
Compares to (Current NFL Player): Rodger Saffold (Los Angeles Rams)
- Good size and excellent arm length
- Outstanding feet for his size
- Knee bender
- Keen awareness against blitzes and stunts
- High character
- Needs to add bulk to his frame and lower half
- Limited experience against premium competition
- Needs to work on his hand placement
1)   Garett Bolles, 5-star JC OL, commits to Utah Utes over Oregon Ducks, others   - OregonLive.com |
2)   Why Garett Bolles Made the Right Choice   - BlockU.com |
3)   Utah football notes: Garett Bolles graded the nation's best run-blocking tackle, plus more (with video)
- Salt Lake City Tribune |
4)   Garett Bolles Twitter|
5)   Garett Bolles Instagram|