NFL draft profile: No. 22 — Utah OT Garret Bolles, elite athlete who overcame major adversity

Utah OT Garett Bolles
6-foot-5, 297 pounds

Key stat: Turned in the best 10-yard split (1.68 seconds), 20-yard split (2.75), broad jump (115 inches) and 3-cone drill (7.29) of any offensive lineman at the NFL scouting combine in 2017.

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Utah OT Garett Bolles is an elite athlete for the position but turns 25 after the NFL draft. (AP)
Utah OT Garett Bolles is an elite athlete for the position but turns 25 after the NFL draft. (AP)

The skinny: Bolles overcame a destructive youth to turn his life around and give football a shot. He was caught up in drugs, in trouble with the law, bounced from school to school growing up and kicked out of his father’s house before straightening up and serving a two-year LDS mission. He then enrolled at Snow College (Utah), playing football there in 2014 and 2015, and landed with the Utes as one of the highest-ranked junior-college recruits prior to the 2016 season. Bolles started all 13 games last season at left tackle and was named first team all-Pac-12.

Bolles declared early for the 2017 NFL draft and attending the combine, skipping only the bench press because of a left pectoral strain. He is married with a child and will turn 25 years old in May, making him one of the oldest draft-eligible candidates this year.

Best-suited destination: We envision Bolles fitting best into a zone-blocking schemes where his assignments — especially in pass protection — are kept simple initially, given his lack of experience and raw technique. Among the teams that could be interested include the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers.

Although many teams project Bolles to play left tackle, others see him as a possibility on the right side, as well as at guard.

Upside: Athletic traits are exceptional. Bolles has flexible hips, light feet and works easily to the second level. Pulls and traps with fluidity. Seems to enjoy run blocking and can powder through smaller defenders. Absolutely a finisher who plays through the whistle. Said at combine he wants to put opponents “in the dirt” and it shows in his play. Here’s a good power block from Bolles (No. 72), getting low in short yardage against a good Washington front and locking up the defender to spring a key run:

Utah OT Garett Bolles is a finisher in the run game, here against Washington. (Draftbreakdown.com, via YouTube)
Utah OT Garett Bolles is a finisher in the run game, here against Washington. (Draftbreakdown.com, via YouTube)

Bolles has a mean streak and can fire up team and crowd with big blocks. Mentally tough. Balance and bend are NFL-caliber right now. Excellent in the mirror drill. Well-proportioned and can add bulk. Uses long arms to keep rushers at bay. Credits football with keeping him focused; the game appears to be important to him.

Downside: Inexperienced prospect whose age will be a red flag. Raw player whose mental and physical errors manifested themselves in 17 called penalties against him last season, an average of more than 1.3 per game. Still learning the finer points and might need extra time in the classroom and patience for a complex blocking scheme. Still too light and underdeveloped. Will get caught reaching and diving at defenders. Raw in pass protection and didn’t face a lot of top-caliber pass rushers last season. Struggled in some reps against UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley and appeared to let him get under his skin a bit. Had a strangely poor game vs. Southern Utah. Played in the 290s last season and needs to add weight, especially in the lower body. Underpowered, with his playing temperament not able to compensate. Played on line last season that featured at least two (and possibly three) other draftable blockers. Was given help with backs and tight ends at times.

Scouting hot take: “It was great hearing his story and about his family. He’s put himself through a lot, but you don’t think he’s going to go back to his old ways. I kind of like him, but our coaches think he’s raw in terms of technique and our [area scout] thinks he needs more time in the weight room. I’m a little worried about a 25-year-old project.” — AFC scouting director

Player comp: In terms of background and style, Bolles reminds us some of Kyle Long, who played only one year of D-I ball and was 24 when the Chicago Bears used the 20th pick in the 2013 NFL draft on him. Bolles also reminds us a bit of former New York Giants OT Will Beatty in terms of his athleticism (but not quite as big).

Expected draft range: Top 40-pick, and a weaker OT class could push him into late Round 1

Previous profiles

Nos. 51-100: Here’s who just missed the cut
No. 50: Indiana OG-C Dan Feeney
No. 49: Iowa DB Desmond King
No. 48: Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham
No. 47: Wisconsin pass rusher T.J. Watt
No. 46. Alabama pass rusher Tim Williams
No. 45. Washington CB Sidney Jones
No. 44. Alabama LB Ryan Anderson
No. 43. Ohio State WR-RB Curtis Samuel
No. 42. Florida DT Caleb Brantley
No. 41. Connecticut DB Obi Melifonwu
No. 40. USC CB-KR Adoree’ Jackson
No. 39. Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes
No. 38. Michigan State DL Malik McDowell
No. 37: Ole Miss TE Evan Engram
No. 36: Florida LB Jarrad Davis
No. 35: Washington S Budda Baker
No. 34: Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon
No. 33: Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey
No. 32: Florida CB Quincy Wilson
No. 31: Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara
No. 30: Michigan DB-RS Jabrill Peppers
No. 29: Alabama OT Cam Robinson
No. 28: Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer
No. 27: LSU CB Tre’Davious White
No. 26: Missouri DE Charles Harris
No. 25: UCLA pass rusher Takkarist McKinley
No. 24: Michigan DE Taco Charlton
No. 23: Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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